CloseKnit has a breakthrough approach for addressing youth homelessness—love. We all need love—and young people who are fending for themselves with no stable place to call home especially need love. Of course they also need a roof, and a diploma, and a job, but what they most need is a caring adult who believes in them and will be there for the long haul. And here’s the thing: those caring people are already in their lives. They’re the adults they turn to that first night they can’t sleep at home—their best friend’s mom, their neighbor, the cousin who lets them crash on a basement couch. We believe these relationships have staying power, and we’re catalyzing system change in order to invest in them.
The youth homelessness crisis is dire: Existing funding streams only provide shelter for a quarter of the 6,000 unaccompanied young people under 25 who are homeless in Minnesota on any given night. But current responses are also housing focused—and expensive. We champion a much more cost-effective, and meaningful, approach: bolstering the relationships with caring adults already in these young people’s lives who are not their service providers.
With two successful pilot sites, research about to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, and recent presentations at national conferences, CloseKnit is ready to go big!
And we’re looking for the board members who can take us there.
- Are you a passionate person who understands how to ignite system change, build new programs, balance a budget, and raise money?
- Because our approach advocates investing in the underestimated and often under-resourced networks of youth facing homelessness, of whom three-quarters in Minnesota are black/indigenous/of color, we especially value the perspective of people who are themselves black/indigenous/of color.
- We also value lived experience—either as a youth facing homelessness or as an adult who has hosted such a youth.
We expect every board member to:
- Take our vision to heart and work to advance our mission,
- Leverage their connections, help secure financial resources, and give their own personally meaningful financial donation,
- Attend quarterly board meetings, follow our bylaws, and adhere to a conflict-of-interest disclosure.
Intrigued? Email Aaron Zimmerman to begin a conversation.