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Amidst Record Levels of Youth Homelessness, Hennepin County Joins Effort to End Crisis

A Way Home America Selects Hennepin County as an Awardee of the Grand Challenge to Tackle Homelessness Among LGBTQ+ Youth and Youth of Color


September 5, 2019 (WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Link is excited to share that yesterday, A Way Home America (AWHA) announced Hennepin County as a selected community of its Grand Challenge to end youth homelessness at the True Colors United Impact Summit in Washington, D.C.  The Link was voted by our youth agency peers within the Hennepin County Youth Collaborative to lead the work.


The Grand Challenge aims to end homelessness for LGBTQ+ youth and youth of color to pave the way to eventually ending housing insecurity and homelessness for all young people. Over the next two years, AWHA will support Hennepin County and nine other chosen communities in developing targeted strategies to address the problem in their areas. The other awarded communities are:


Cohort 1: October, 2019 launch

  • Greater Richmond, Virgina
  • Miami-Dade County, Florida
  • San Francisco, California
  • Sacramento, California


Cohort 2: Early 2020 launch

  • Palm Beach, Florida
  • Tucson-Pima, Arizona
  • Washington, DC
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Anchorage, Alaska


“These 10 Grand Challenge communities are committed to centering those young people most likely to experience homelessness – youth of color and LGBTQ+ youth – and to showing it is possible to effectively end homelessness for all young people. They are communities unafraid of bold action and systemic change,” said Megan Gibbard Kline, Director of A Way Home America.


On any given night in the United States, approximately 41,000 unaccompanied young people between the ages of 13 and 25 experience homelessness. And over the course of a year, one in 10 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 and at least one in 30 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 experience some form of housing instability, whether it be homelessness or couch surfing. In total, approximately 3.5 million young adults and 700,000 youth are affected by homelessness each year.


The Grand Challenge is concentrating on the needs of LGBTQ+ youth and youth of color, who are disproportionately impacted by homelessness. LGBTQ+ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their peers, and youth of color make up 89% of young people experiencing homelessness between ages 18 and 24.


The method of AWHA’s Grand Challenge is based on the theory of “Targeted Universalism,” meaning that if communities focus on meeting the needs of populations most impacted by youth homelessness – LGBTQ+ youth and youth of color – they can build a system that meets the needs of all young people who experience homelessness.


The Grand Challenge is supported by the Ballmer Group, the Butler Family Fund, the Campion Foundation, the Liberty Mutual Foundation, the Melville Charitable Trust, the Raikes Foundation, and the Schultz Family Foundation.


For more information about AWHA’s Grand Challenge, please visit




About A Way Home America

AWHA is a national initiative to build the movement to prevent and end homelessness among young people. AWHA is made up of local and state public sector organizations, advocates, researchers, young people, homeless youth providers and philanthropists united behind the goal of ending youth homelessness.