In Minnesota alone, roughly 6,000 youth in have experienced homelessness. Leading research organization Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago estimates that among youth ages 13-17, at least 1 in 30 (roughly 700,000 youth) experience homelessness each year: Chapin Hall Youth Homelessness Brief.
Most youth who are or have experienced homelessness have faced unhealthy family dynamics or have been kicked out of their home, leaving them to find shelter through couch hopping, relatives, or in unorthodox locations. Although each crisis varies from case to case; these cases all still count as homeless. 180 Degrees continues to empower youth and families to help stop the cycle of homelessness. Opened in 2015, Hope House Youth Shelter is open 24/7 for youth in crisis, ages 14-19.
Hope House Program Manager Abigail Botten and Outreach Manager Emma Silkey work together to bring hope at this six-bedroom short-term crisis shelter in Excelsior, MN. Abigail describes Hope House as “a safe place for teens in crisis to [have] resources they need for their journey.”
Many of the youth entering Hope House feel they have little control over their lives. Their experiences are rooted in things like shifting family dynamics and relationships, struggling to have their voices heard, and lacking control over their family's housing situations.
At Hope House, staff meet youth where they're at and empower them along the way. Our goal is to help youth build control over their life and gain confidence with their autonomy. Youth are encouraged to develop personal goals and are introduced to community resources, setting them up with tools to take beyond the program. They gain control over their lives by determining the resources that best suit their needs.
“A lot of youth just want the opportunity to have a say; being a teen is really hard... so what does that look like for us to be able to give youth the autonomy to have choices?” Abigail asks. She describes how giving youth control over what they want for a meal is a lesson in making choices. “It all comes down to that small window,” Emma continues, “It can translate to have the autonomy to make decisions down the road and does start with making small decisions.”
Youth at Hope House are a part of a Youth Council that make decisions about daily activities at Hope House. This is another way to reinforce youth having control over their environment; something some youth have never experienced.
Emma talks about the confidence youth gain at Hope House, “It is up to the [youth] to take the first step to ask for help, which can be hard...” she says, “There are so many more [people] that are with you, on your side... It’s about having the confidence to take that first step.”
Community is an integral part of Hope House. Volunteers make meaningful contributions every week. Recently, seven boy scouts renovated the garage, creating a new Clothing Closet. Now youth have an easier time selecting clothing if they stay for several weeks. Throughout the year, volunteers provide essential needs, including meals, clothing, and even art supplies.
“Without the support of the community, those that give financially, and those that give their time to help bring awareness to youth homelessness, we wouldn’t be where we are now.” Abigail finishes.
Hope exists at Hope House -- youth are a part of a program that creates a safe space for healing and change.
Make sure to follow Hope House on Instagram @HopeHouseMN.
The past few months have been busy at 180 Degrees' Brittany’s Place. As you may know, we had a full remodel of our St. Paul shelter for girls and young women who've experienced trafficking. Our heartfelt gratitude to the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) for working together with 180 Degrees and Brittany’s Place staff. We are amazed at their generosity. Their talent and contributions have:
If you need interior design, we highly recommend ASID and the other creative and generous businesses below.
Thank you for your donations, expertise, and support. Brittany’s Place feels more like a home for girls who have experienced unique traumas due to sex trafficking and violence.
American Society of Interior Designers team (ASID)
Adam Anderson of Decorators Service Co. for installing screen painting in Main Area.
Mark Arfmann of MASK Painting for painting all of the walls.
Michelle Ashe of Muska Lighting for donating lamps for bedrooms.
Leslie Bentley of Satori Tile for donating tile installation.
Jackie Cox of Tapis Décor for donating carpet installation in the Main Area.
Chris Drigans of Benjamin Moore Paint for donating paint.
Nancy Nelson Flom of Intersource for donating carpet tile for Lounge Room.
Charlie Flynn of Francis King Showroom for donating two Ottomans for the Main Area.
Shari Goodchild of The Tile Shop for donating tile and supplies for Kitchen Island.
Kelly Grenell of Dixie Group for donating carpet installation in Main Area.
Christine Happel of Ethan Allen Interiors for donating furniture for the Welcome Room.
Denise Houk of Denise Houk Art for painting and photography.
Jesse Korbson of J. Korbson Design for donation and installation of TV in the Lounge Room.
Scott Needham of Express Window Fashions for treatment of windows.
Dianna Sether of CA Closets for donation of throw and regular pillows.
Jennifer Ruis of Fuse Showroom for donation of chair and ottoman for the Lounge Room.
Frank and Anette Weber from Bob’s Binding for donation of rug pads for all small rugs.
Brian Williams of Designers Concierge for donating an art install.
Lisa Yahrmatter of Fiberseal for treatment of furniture.
ASID Community Service Committee Members:
Michelle Asche of Muska Lighting.
Lisa Ball of Design By Lisa.
Jennie Korsbon of J. Korsbon Design.
Jenni Ruis of Fuse Showroom.
Chris Schmitz of ProSource Wholesale.
Karen Thullner of Watershed Design Group.
Charlene Ackley as ASID Member President.
Nicole Alatar of Sherwin Williams as ASID Director At Large.
Kaitlyn Stokes of Crystal Kitchens as ASID PR Committee Member.
ASID Designer Volunteers:
Nancy Dahl Baker as Freelance Volunteer.
Kali Bray from the U of MN as ASID Student Member Volunteer.
Jennifer Darnell and Christine Happel of Ethan Allen Interiors.
Piper Donlin as ASID Student Member Volunteer.
Kelly Hayes Erickson of Carriage House Studio.
Bonnie Folkerts as Freelance Volunteer.
Terry Gustafson of Terry Gustafson Interior Design.
Barbara Hafften of Barbara Hafften Interior Design.
Mary Jane Pappas of Pappas Design.
Laura Shikowsky as Student Member Volunteer.
Nicole Sirek of Partners 4 Design.
Angie Smith and Bridget Zack of DCTC as ASID Student Member Volunteers.
Christine Tanaka of Harmony Interiors.
Lisa Theis of EnTICEng Designs.
Brenda Scherping Westphal of Scherping Westphal Showroom.
Like many Minnesota families, Cynthia's family lived on the edge of poverty. Not only did her parents suffer from health conditions, but they both had to work two jobs just to get by.
When Cynthia's father died unexpectedly, her mother spiraled into a deep depression. Overwhelmed by the grief of losing her husband and the steadily growing pile of bills, her mother struggled with daily living. That left Cynthia on her own to navigate.
With her mother not able to provide emotional support and money for food increasingly scarce, concentrating at school was an almost impossible task for Cynthia.
It didn't help that teasing from classmates became more frequent, adding to her grief and stress. Soon, Cynthia began skipping school, immersing herself in fantasy books to get a small sense of safety and comfort.
Until now, Cynthia had dodged the pressure from her friend's brother to hang out with a group of guys during the day in an apartment. But, increasingly hungry and struggling to get by, she was starting to reconsider.
Eventually, a social worker made a visit to Cynthia's home. Seeing the neglect and food scarcity, she knew it was in Cynthia's best interest to get out.
To make sure Cynthia was safe, the social worker brought her to one of 180 Degrees' five Emergency Youth Shelters. Cynthia didn't want to leave her mom, but she knew something had to change.
Understandably, it was really hard for Cynthia at first. She resisted the transition to this new, unknown environment with new, unknown people.
Slowly though, with the consistency of a safe and structured space, home cooked meals, and a team of people who genuinely cared about her, Cynthia began to learn to trust.
"Talking with other kids at the shelter made me realize I wasn't alone." Feeling seen by people who understood made a difference. The trust Cynthia gained through these relationships paved the way for discovering new things about herself, and building pathways forward.
[Stay tuned for the third and final part of Cynthia's story!]
With encouragement from Becky, the on-site teacher, Cynthia got back on track in school. She dedicated time to drawing - focusing on something that brought her joy - and taking pride in her unique talents. A case manager even helped Cynthia locate a part-time job within walking distance of her house.
Mental health crises and family dynamics don't resolve instantly. 180 Degrees provides the critical support and connections families need to begin to heal. Throughout Cynthia's shelter stay, she visited her mom regularly while her mom connected with a mental health professional to begin improving her emotional well-being and re-gaining financial stability.
After three months, Cynthia reunited with her mom. Today, if struggles mount again, they both feel more confident about how to seek help and get back on track.
Your gift will connect teens like Cynthia to a safe space when they have no other options.
With your help, youth will have a roof over their head and the resources they need to rebuild family connections and start to heal.
Our goal is to raise $15,000 for youth in crisis before December 31. Will you help?