Youth homelessness addressed by youth

Youth homelessness is a serious issue that affects many young people in Saint Paul. But what can be done to address it? Young people in Saint Paul have their own ideas, and they turned to YouthBank for funding to make those ideas a reality.

YouthBank gives young people the power to decide what is best for their community and to take action. How does it work here in Saint Paul? The Saint Paul Youth Commission is a YouthBank, funded by Youthprise. Each year, high school students who make up the Saint Paul Youth Commission grant out thousands of dollars to youth groups who have bright ideas for projects that will make Saint Paul a better place for youth.

When presented with this grant opportunity, the Community Kids Youth Advisory Council at Keystone Community Services wanted to do something to support homeless youth in Saint Paul – inspired by personal connections with three homeless youth. The Council came up with an idea for a project creating and distributing backpacks filled with non-perishable food items and hygiene supplies. The Youth Advisory Council plan to deliver them to agencies that work directly with youth who are experiencing homelessness.

Once they developed their service project idea, four young people wrote a grant to YouthBank Saint Paul. After the review period, they were notified that their grant received the highest rating from the YouthBank Review Panel and that the next step would be an interview.

Finally, the Community Kids Youth Advisory Council was awarded a $4,625.00 grant to develop and implement their service project. They have worked to gather supplies for the backpacks and garner donations from the community. They are now planning to deliver the backpacks to organizations in fall 2017. Also, as part of the grant process, they have been asked to track their outcomes, keep a detailed budget of expenses, and provide a final report at the end of the calendar year.

This year, the Saint Paul Youth Commission Youthbank gave out seven grants, totaling approximately $13,000.