Blog

Supportive Growth At Prior Crossing

Dylan Novacek September 4, 2020

YMCA Service Provider Spotlight, Written By Dylan Novacek – Content Specialist

“Everyone deserves safe, stable housing,” asserted Deng Dimayuga, Youth Support Program Manager for on-site services at Prior Crossing. “For some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, a home helps them start on a path toward healing.”

Driven by their mission to relentlessly serve our communities until all can thrive at each stage of life, Deng (pictured left) and the case managers at the YMCA are committed to supporting our young residents at Prior Crossing, youth supportive housing from Beacon.

Since March of this year, the YMCA has been one of our partners in providing essential on-site services that help Beacon residents on their journey to stability.

“We seek to make impactful change that cultivates the potential of young people in the communities we serve,” Deng shared. “The Y’s mission connects to Beacon as we also believe that stable homes transform lives and communities.”

With a rich 175-year history of supporting underserved communities, YMCA case managers work with residents, connecting them to immediate needs and services ranging from life coaching, education, employment support, as well as community building.

“Affordable housing, coupled with supportive services to maintain it, creates the intentional support that many our residents need. Homes like Prior Crossing meet youth wherever they are in their lives.”

Describing the building as something similar to a university dorm, Deng helps build community for residents with educational events and an open door for all. (Pictured right: the Pizza & Self Care activity, with Prior Crossing’s employment specialist.)

“I feel connected to this work whenever a resident stops by my office to vent,” she smiled. “I am always grateful whenever they feel safe enough to confide in me. I feel inspired whenever I see them move onto the next stage of their life.”

For Deng, a standout moment in her work at Prior Crossing came when a long-time resident took bold steps toward her next chapter.

“She would come down to our offices every day asking questions, creating a budget, and setting goals for moving out. Eventually she got a Section 8 voucher and found a new, fully independent, home of her own!”

It takes $1,000 per resident monthly to provide these critical, life changing services that help residents address the roadblocks that cause instability. While this resident has successfully moved out, her story isn’t over yet; in fact it’s just beginning.

Thanks to the services offered at Prior Crossing, she was able to address the issues that caused homelessness. However, the reality is there are simply not enough homes in our communities to serve our youth, families, and individuals with the greatest needs.

“Homes like Prior Crossing are here as a response to the needs of our community,” Deng said.

We are seeking to double the number of our Beacon homes to best address those needs. It takes $12 million over three years in private contributions to power our work of sheltering families, changing polices, and creating new homes with these key services. We are pleased to share that we have $3.2 million to go by June of 2021 to achieve that goal.

Home is a place where we are welcomed, and safe. Through the support offered from our partners at the YMCA, Prior Crossing becomes a more excellent home for our residents.

“The need for supportive housing is high. Homelessness exists in every community, whether you see it or not. So many of our at risk youth don’t know what questions to ask or how to get out of the bad situations they find themselves in.”

Our service partners believe in this work and help push us forward in our vision to see that all people have a home, creating the space for healing and change.

“We empower our youth to make choices that will positively change their futures and provide them with opportunities for them to recognize and seek their potential,” Deng exclaimed. “Our youth are so important, and this work is needed now more than ever.”


Learn more on how supportive housing changes lives by attending Beacon Now! All September long we are focusing on Emerson Village, family supportive housing in North Minneapolis. Invite a friend and help grow our collaborative. Contact Craig Freeman for more info