Youth Housing Project FAQs

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Youth Housing Project FAQs

Do we need youth housing in Eden Prairie?

The short answer is yes, there are homeless youth in Eden Prairie. The longer answer is that wherever there are families dealing with trauma and life issues there will be youth who are in need of a home. Statistics are hard to come by. Youth who are classified as homeless are transient and their situations too are often transient.

What are the needs?

Wilder Research estimates that on any given night in the State of Minnesota there are over 4000 youth who are homeless or precariously housed. About half of these are youth under age 17 and half are ages 18 – 21. Over 500 of these youth are in Hennepin County and about half are in suburban Hennepin County. There are almost equally male and female and of every race, although black youth experience homelessness at a much higher rate than other races. And these kids exist in every community in the state of Minnesota.

What’s the state’s definition of youth homelessness?

In Minnesota a homeless youth is defined as “a person 21 years of age or younger who is unaccompanied by a parent or guardian and is without shelter where appropriate care and supervision are available, whose parent or legal guardian is unable or unwilling to provide shelter and care, or who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.” Youth who are homeless are a higher risk for physical abuse, sexual exploitation, mental health problems, substance abuse and death.

What services do these youth need?

According to The MN Homeless Youth Act services must be provided to those defined as homeless youth. Services can include prevention, outreach, drop-in, shelter and supportive housing. But the truth is, the number of youth needing these services is higher than the current availability. Most of the services are located in the urban center of Minneapolis which makes it difficult for suburban youth to access them.

Isn’t youth homelessness more of an inner-city problem?

In our affluent suburb it is often difficult to see the youth who are homeless because they don’t look like the stereotyped image of a homeless kid wandering the streets of an urban center. But they are in our midst. Some sleep in their cars. Some “couch hop” from one friend’s home to another for weeks at a time. Some sleep in the woods. They are good at hiding their situation because they don’t want to be known as homeless. One Immanuel member happened upon an encampment in the woods behind their home a couple of years ago. City Workers knew this to be the “home” of a young man. Eden Prairie police tell of youth sleeping under bridges in our community. Another Immanuel family housed a student from the high school for several weeks at the request of the EPHS Social Worker.

Aren’t there other youth housing projects in the SW metro?

Fortunately, there are two other new Youth Housing projects in the SW Metro that are addressing part of the need.

Currently there are no youth housing options that serve the population whose needs fall in gap between emergency and supportive housing.  That is a gap we want to fill.


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