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Young advocates in action
April 22, 2014

“Homelessness is a growing problem in Minnesota, especially among youth.”

Those words are from a letter written by Max, a seventh-grader who is a member of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community.

He and other middle- and high-school students from that congregation are requesting a grant to support Beacon’s work from the parish’s Justice Fund and wrote letters in support. These young people have knowledge and compassion – and they see themselves as part of the solution to homelessness. We thought you’d like to read some excerpts:

How they see the problem:

“For me, home means having a warm safe place that you can always go. Unfortunately, many people (10,214 in 2012) are not as fortunate as we are to have a home,” wrote Greer, who’s in eighth grade.

“I do not want to imagine what it would be like on one of our below zero nights to have nowhere to sleep,” wrote Kieran, a 10th grader who described himself as an active member of the SJA parish and a Beacon Citizen.

Braden, a 9th grader, said: “I can’t imagine what it would be like to go to school but not have a home to come back to where I can unwind and do homework, but rather try to find food and a place to stay.”

How they’re part of the solution:

“As a volunteer in my school, city, and church community, I believe that everybody should help end homelessness,” wrote Max.

“I think you should give Beacon the grant because the money will go directly to building and renovating housing so that is affordable to homeless people. People are homeless in our community and it is our responsibility to assist them,” Greer stated.

And this from Braden: “After learning that many homeless people in Minnesota are youth like me, I was motivated to help Beacon advocate for $100 million at the capitol. I met with my legislators at the capitol to say what housing meant to me. I hope that the Justice Fund will support Beacon and their life-changing work.” [Ed note: Braden is pictured above delivering postcards from St. Joan parishioners to State Senator Bev Scalze.]

Why they urge the Justice Fund Committee to support Beacon:

Greer explains: “Fortunately, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative is working to provide affordable housing in Minnesota. This will help many people to not be homeless because a main reason for homelessness is a lack of affordable housing.

“What Beacon is doing is providing affordable housing for people that cannot find a place to stay. One place they have already done this with is Nicollet Square. […] Imagine what we could do with even more of those apartments! We could end homelessness altogether. If you were in their place, what would you want?” posed Kieran.

“This grant is not a magical cure that will end youth homelessness,” concluded Max. “It is just a grant, but it is the first step in the journey and I believe you can help us get there.”