April 2020 Director’s Report: Our daunting new reality…

It’s a given that “shelter-in-place” stirs the cauldron of family conflict, which is the leading cause of youth homelessness. Mix in financial stress and relationships will be strained even further…meaning there’s no question Covid-19 will drive many more youth into homelessness.  

Social services will be even more overwhelmed: Pre-pandemic, existing funding streams only provided shelter for 1 in 4 unaccompanied young people facing homelessness in Minnesota. 

A moment of reckoning is coming. The social service sector can no longer position itself as the primary helper: There will simply be too many young people to help. 

Here’s the new question I believe we need to be asking: How can we facilitate mutual aid so people are better positioned to help one another? 

That’s the space CloseKnit knows well. We’re making the case for and pioneering strategies to strengthen the informal hosting arrangements that youth facing homelessness create with extended family, neighbors and the families of friends.

Times of crisis can create an opening to try new things. CloseKnit already has a head start on the kind of innovation these times call for. And we’re ready to spark change more widely.