Opening doors for youth experiencing homelessness

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Onward Eden Prairie

(Previously known as Haven House)

Immanuel has a vision to help provide safe places for youth experiencing homelessness in the south-west metro.  An Immanuel member donated funds to help purchase a house for this project and Immanuel’s Kim Rathjen (Coordinator of Outreach) is working with a community-wide steering committee to make this collaborative vision become a reality.

Onward Eden Prairie is the New Name!

February 2018 Update

The non-profit Immanuel is collaborating with on the youth housing project has chosen a new name.  Previously known as Haven House, the non-profit’s Board of Directors decided to change the name to better reflect their mission and the community which will be served.  Onward Eden Prairie (or Onward EP) is preparing to open for occupancy on June 1, 2018.

Onward EP will rent the Immanuel owned house from the church for a minimal fee.  The non-profit will manage all of the operations of the house including fundraising and contracts with Oasis for Youth to provide a full time Case Manager for the four tenants, who will range in age from 18-24 years old. Did you know that 18 and 19 year olds are the most vulnerable age group of the population of people having difficulty finding stable housing?  Onward EP’s mission is to provide stable housing and support to these most vulnerable young adults in our community so that they can prepare themselves for a brighter future.

Onward EP has recently been chosen as the recipient of the Eden Prairie Community Foundations Fund the Need appeal at their Gala on April 28. We are grateful for the support of the Immanuel congregation and the community at large as we work towards alleviating a hidden need in Eden Prairie.

Kim Rathjen

Update - December 2017

The Haven House project in Eden Prairie is moving forward!  The vision of the newly formed non-profit is to provide affordable housing for four young adults ages 18-24 who do not have the support of their family of origin.  Although no longer minors, young adults in this age range are still quite vulnerable when they do not have a place to call home.  We have over 40 young adults in our local community who have sought help from PROP for housing and other services in the last year.  Haven House believes that all young people deserve a safe place to sleep and dream!

Haven House is now an independent non-profit and will manage all operations of the house, including the relationship with Oasis for Youth who is providing Case Management services.  While many members of Immanuel are passionate about this Eden Prairie collaboration and are involved in the work, Haven House is not a ministry that is tied financially to Immanuel.

The generosity and passion of an Immanuel member who gave money for the purpose of purchasing a house has allowed Haven House to start with no debt. The Immanuel owned house will be made available to Haven House for a small yearly fee and the Haven house non-profit will cover all operational expenses.

$50,000 of updates will begin shortly on the house through CBDG funds from the City of Eden Prairie. The updates include adding a fire suppression system inside the house, updating some plumbing and electrical systems, adding insulation, replacing the driveway, and more.  All of these updates are important as Haven House desires to be a good neighbor in the community.

Fundraising has begun with the goal of raising $300,000 before the projected opening date of June 1, 2018.  This will cover operating expenses for three years.  Currently, the fiscal agent for Haven House in the Eden Prairie Community Foundation. Financial donations can be made at  and designated for Haven House.

Further questions about Haven House can be directed to Immanuel members who serve on the Haven House Board of Directors: Kim Rathjen (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)), John Urbanski (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) or Andy Vergeront (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)).

Update - August, 2017

We Have a House!

This past month Immanuel purchased a house with the intention of making it available for transitional Youth Housing in Eden Prairie.  The house is located at 11140 Lanewood Circle – it is within walking distance of the Eden Prairie Mall (important for employment opportunities), is on a bus line, has 5 bedrooms (one will be used as a case manager’s office), and great community space.  Tom Herzog, John Urbanski and Kim Rathjen were involved in the final decision about the house, with input from Oasis for Youth staff who have experience and passion for housing young people safely. The purchase of the house was made possible by a generous gift from an anonymous donor and funds from the Opening Doors Capital Campaign.

Immanuel continues to work with the newly forming non-profit Haven House with the goal of opening transitional housing for young adults aged 18-24 within the next year.  The Haven House Board continues to make steps towards making this dream become a reality.

The purchase of the house puts into motion some new projects needing specific gifts and skills. If you or someone you know would have time and the skills we need for the following projects, please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

1) Communications, Fundraising and Marketing – We will need to start communication with the wider community, develop a plan for fundraising (perhaps a kick-off event planner?), and develop some ongoing means for communicating with stake holders. 

2) House Preparation #1 – at the urging of city employees in the housing department we have applied for a CBDG (Community Based Development Grant) grant from the City of Eden Prairie for the major rehab projects.  We will spend every penny we can that the city gives us, but there will be small projects that will come up as we prepare to make the house ready for tenants. Since the house will be owned by Immanuel it would make sense that Immanuel folks would take in interest in the ongoing maintenance of the house. 

3) House Preparation #2 – we have a whole house to stock!  The Prop Shop has agreed to provide furniture and anything else they can and have already asked for a list of needed items. We would like to involve a couple of people in figuring out what types of furniture will work for the spaces and to help develop a needs list.

It was less than two year ago that this God inspired vision started forming to serve young adults in our community. While it may seem like the process is taking a long time, others in the field tell us that we are moving along quite quickly.  We strongly believe that God is leading the way and that this leap of faith will result in many blessings for years to come!

Update - June 15, 2017

Background: Immanuel’s Pledge to the Youth Housing Project

You might recall that Immanuel included a pledge of $200,000 to a youth housing project as part of our Opening Doors Capital Campaign. We are pleased to share with you that we have now accumulated sufficient funds to make the first $100,000 cash donation to the Haven House project. As promised, this portion of the campaign is to be paid only as funds have accumulated, and is not associated with the loan necessary to finance our building projects. The Church Executive Committee is working with the Haven House Board of Directors (HHB) as to the best timing for this contribution

New Developments

We hope that this update provides clarity regarding the housing project’s status. We are grateful for the accomplishments that Kim and the HHB members have made to date, and look forward to the positive impact of this project for our community.

Pastor Paul Nelson
Beth Hansen, Congregation President

Update – June 1, 2017

We are excited to share some more progress on the Eden Prairie Youth Housing Project which Immanuel has supported since its beginning in October 2016. Many significant pieces of the planning process have been finished since the beginning of this calendar year and we are moving ahead! 

The Housing Model that will be used, which was shared earlier this year, is referred to as Transitional Housing. We will provide four units of affordable rental housing for 18 - 24 year olds who attend school or work in our community. The young people will be required to set goals, work towards them, and learn skills which will ensure that they can move into a more traditional type of rental. 

Key Developments:

Next Steps
We are ready to purchase a house! We are looking for a 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in Eden Prairie.  The home would need to be close to a bus line and within walking distance of employment opportunities. We are hopeful that the home purchase will occur this summer and that any needed work on the home would begin shortly after closing. Immanuel will own this home, and lease it to Haven House.  Although the church will not be responsible for upkeep of the home, it is hoped that Immanuel members with gifts and skills of home repair and maintenance might volunteer their time for these projects. If you have a house in your neighborhood for sale, or soon to be on sale, that fits our criteria, please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Youth Housing Project Gains Momentum

January 2017

As we begin the new year, I am excited to provide you with an update on the progress of the Eden Prairie Housing for Youth Steering Committee. Over the past several months we have gained a great deal of clarity around our work. Thank you for your continuing prayers and support as we work collaboratively with our community leaders to respond to the needs of our young people.

Key Developments

The Selected Housing Model

Next Steps
As we begin the new year representatives of the committee will begin searching for a single-family home in Eden Prairie that will meet our criteria. We will let you know when a purchase is made! We will also be working to select and establish a contract with a social service partner. And the Advisory Board will begin fundraising in earnest.

About the Eden Prairie Housing for Youth Steering Committee
The Eden Prairie Housing for Youth Steering Committee was formed in the winter of 2016 to carry out the God-inspired vision of Immanuel Lutheran Church and the broader Eden Prairie community to respond to the growing population of homeless or precariously housed youth living in our midst. Thanks to a generous financial contribution from an anonymous Immanuel member and enthusiastic support of the congregation, Immanuel is able to fund the purchase of a home that will offer the physical framework needed to begin responding to this need. The City of Eden Prairie will initially provide a project manager for the youth housing program and the Eden Prairie Community Foundation will help sustain it through ongoing fundraising.

Kim Rathjen, Coordinator of Outreach

November 2016 - Update

EP Youth Housing Project – One Year In
Kim Rathjen, Coordinator of Inreach and Outreach

About a year ago Immanuel was presented with the opportunity to be part of a project in the wider community involving housing for homeless or at-risk youth in the SW metro. The Immanuel congregation voted to accept funds from a generous donor which would allow us to purchase a house when the time is right and meetings with interested people from the community began.

During the first year of planning a group of EP Community Leaders, including me, met together multiple times.  We gathered data on current resources for precariously housed youth, compiled information about the need for services, and met with the Executive Directors of the major organizations that are currently serving youth in our community.  A mission, vision and values statements were also written.  In all of our research and conversations it was confirmed that there are kids at risk in our community, and supportive housing and services are needed to help these young people achieve their full potential.

As we enter the second year of preparing and planning for the possibility of youth housing in our community, an Advisory Board was gathered to help the group move from the discovery and ideas phase into the execution phase of planning. People from the community with specific skill sets were invited to help us develop structure and formality for the vision.  The Advisory Board will meet once a month for the coming school year.  Community members include: Carol Bomben, Jan Eian, Joe Epping, Gena Gerard, Elaine Larabee, Police Sgt Eric LeBlanc, Kathy Palmer, Kim Rathjen, Kyle Rose, Gwen Schultz, Jay Simpson, John Urbanski, Andy Vergeront, Mark Weber.  The Advisory Board is not meant to be an exclusive group, and community members who have gifts, skills and time to move the project forward are welcomed.

It is an honor to represent the Immanuel congregation in this collaborative effort.  Your prayers for the forward movement of the project are coveted as we move into this next phase!

Summary of the Youth Housing Project

Spring 2016

Winter 2016

Fall 2015

Summer 2015  

Summer 2014  

Frequently asked questions

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A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America