A new program to match homeless teenagers with Minneapolis residents willing to share their homes will hold its first information sessions this week.
The nonprofit Avenues for Homeless Youth modeled the Minneapolis Host Home Program on its suburban program for gay and lesbian teenagers who are homeless.
Executive director Deb Loon said the only requirement for people offering homes is that the space they offer is safe. She said teens will decide how involved they want the volunteer homeowners to be in their lives.
"The youth really drive the matching process," Loon said. "So some youth really want to develop a relationship and so they will look for hosts who want to have a relationship. And other youth are looking more for that roommate kind of arrangement."
Loon said that about 2,500 teenagers are homeless on any given night in Minnesota.
"Having a safe place to call home can be what gives young people the opportunity to thrive," Loon said. "Hosting a young person can be that thing that creates the opportunity for them to go to college, to get a good job, because without a home, those are really difficult, almost impossible things to do."
The Minneapolis Host Home information sessions will be 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Pierre Bottineau Library, 55 Broadway St. NE, and 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Common Roots Cafe, 2558 Lyndale Ave. S.
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