NORTHFIELD, MINN. (October 1, 2019) – The Community Action Center (CAC) of Northfield, Northfield Union of Youth (NUY) and Northfield Public Schools (NPS) have received a state-funded grant to help combat homelessness in the Northfield area. The funding will support youth advocacy-specific staffing efforts, increase access to direct services and resources, and broaden the impact of housing support initiatives.
“We are thrilled for the opportunity to work alongside two other invaluable community partners to effectively align our organizations’ roles in a way that best serves youth experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness in our community,” says Northfield Union of Youth Executive Director Emily Fulton-Foley.
The CAC, NUY and NPS were awarded the joint collaboration grant — worth $210,000 payable over two years — from the Minnesota Department of Human Services Office of Economic Opportunity. Part of the funding will help to secure additional staff hours to manage NUY’s Wallflower Project, a program that matches youth with host families and helps youth find housing. Additionally, a new position within the CAC will be created to support all three partners, and the new hire will be co-located at NPS and NUY. Many proposals were submitted from across the state to gain grant funding. Aside from the joint partnership in Northfield, only one other organization was awarded funding — the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency.
“We’re extremely fortunate to be able to partner together and build on the great work that all three organizations are already doing to support families in the community,” says Scott Wopata, executive director of the Community Action Center of Northfield. “Through this partnership, we’ll all be able to increase our impact even more and mobilize community resources more effectively.”
The extra staffing support and resources will allow for those who are interested in becoming volunteer host families to train in the Northfield area, making the training more accessible and impactful. Currently, interested host families travel to the Twin Cities area for training. NPS is providing space for the new staffing position, advocate interaction with youth and more.
“Having an advocate and resources within the walls of Northfield Public Schools lets our students — and even youth who do not attend NPS — know that we support them,” says Sara Pratt, assistant director of special services at Northfield Public Schools. “We also want to work on reducing the stigma around students who are facing homelessness.”
Those interested in getting involved in efforts to eliminate youth homelessness or becoming a volunteer host family should contact Northfield Union of Youth at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those interested in serving as a Youth Advocate to work alongside staff located at Northfield High School and in close collaboration with Northfield Union of Youth are encouraged to apply. Visit communityactioncenter.org/employment for more information.
About the Community Action Center of Northfield
The Community Action Center of Northfield exists to promote a healthy, caring and just community for all people through resources, advocacy and volunteer effort. We help our Northfield-area neighbors meet basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter, and provide crisis support, transportation and more. For more information, visit communityactioncenter.org.
About Northfield Union of Youth
Northfield Union of Youth is a youth-led youth services organization serving youth throughout the Northfield, Minn. area with a mission to provide power and voice to youth and create a caring and enriching community. With the belief that youth are the experts on youth, the organization provides a platform and a system for youth to fully address the needs they see in the community, the ideas they have to enrich their community and the support to ensure that they are never alone. For more information, visit unionofyouth.org.
About Northfield Public Schools
Northfield Public Schools is a southeastern Minnesota school district serving families in Northfield and surrounding areas. Diverse in population, the community of Northfield values education for all learners from pre-K through adulthood. The district features many schools for youth including three elementary schools, a middle school, a high school, an alternative high school and sponsors several charter schools. Community education is offered through the District’s Community Services division and includes early childhood education and a range of educational programs for learners of all ages. For more information, visit northfieldschools.org.