Opening doors for youth experiencing homelessness

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Youth Housing Project

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.

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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