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November is National Runaway and Homeless Youth Prevention Month

There are youth sleeping outside right now.

As of August, there have been 200+ 14-24 year olds sleeping outside or in emergency shelters in Grand Rapids. We hear and acknowledge their stories.

November is National Runaway and Homeless Youth Prevention Month

There are youth sleeping outside right now.

As of August, there have been 200+ 14-24 year olds sleeping outside or in emergency shelters in Grand Rapids. Their story must be heard and acknowledged.

We Exist.

“We Exist” is the rally cry of youth with lived experience to end youth homelessness in Kent County.

AYA Youth Collective, in partnership with the Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness, is working in tandem with the Kent County Youth Action Board to acknowledge the existence of homeless youth and “to continue to disrupt the cycle of homelessness that exists in Kent County, with the goal of one day ensuring that all youth experiencing housing instability are given the resources needed to envision stable and safe futures for themselves and their families.”

We, the members of the Kent County Youth Action Board, believe that housing is an inherent right and that every community has the responsibility to ensure to all of its members, have access to safe, affordable and stable housing.  We believe that youth homelessness in our community is a direct result of systems of oppression that disproportionately affect marginalized groups, including youth who identify as persons of color, those who are members of the LGBTQ+ community and those exiting local and nationwide child welfare systems...Ultimately, we will be afforded the opportunity to continue to disrupt the cycle of homelessness that exists in Kent County, with the goal of one day ensuring that all youth experiencing housing instability are given the resources needed to envision stable and safe futures for themselves and their families.

Kent County Youth Action Board

Excerpt from Letter of Support regarding Purpose of the Kent County Youth Action Board

What Can You Do?

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Understand the Crisis

Schedule a tour of AYA’s drop-in center and learn more about the root causes of homelessness.

Respond in Love

Donate today – contribute financial gifts to fund valuable resources, or donate basic essentials.

Give your Time

Volunteer to help around our drop in center or prepare a hot meal.

Spread the Word

Tell your friends and family what you have learned and how to help.

We Exist.

“We Exist” is the rally cry of youth with lived experience to end youth homelessness in Kent County.

AYA Youth Collective, in partnership with the Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness, is working in tandem with the Kent County Youth Action Board to acknowledge the existence of homeless youth and “to continue to disrupt the cycle of homelessness that exists in Kent County, with the goal of one day ensuring that all youth experiencing housing instability are given the resources needed to envision stable and safe futures for themselves and their families.”*

What Can You Do?

w

Understand the Crisis

Schedule a tour of AYA’s drop-in center and learn more about the root causes of homelessness.

Respond in Love

Donate today – contribute financial gifts to fund valuable resources, or donate basic essentials.

Give your Time

Volunteer to help around our drop in center or prepare a hot meal.

Spread the Word

Tell your friends and family what you have learned and how to help.

About AYA Youth Collective

Our Two Approaches to Fight Homelessness

Drop-In Center

We see 450 youth a year and offer resources such as basic needs, laundry, vital document recovery (driver’s license, birth certificate), medical care, therapy/counseling services, employment and education resources, and so much more.

Long-term Housing

Our supportive housing resource is a place where youth can rest, recharge, and heal. In each home, mentors live alongside youth and act as their first point of contact. Community is built through weekly house dinners, shared experiences, and daily interactions.

About AYA Youth Collective

Our Two Approaches to Fight Homelessness

Drop-In Center

We see 450 youth a year and offer resources such as basic needs, laundry, vital document recovery (driver’s license, birth certificate), medical care, therapy/counseling services, employment and education resources, and so much more.

Long-term Housing

Our supportive housing resource is a place where youth can rest, recharge, and heal. In each home, mentors live alongside youth and act as their first point of contact. Community is built through weekly house dinners, shared experiences, and daily interactions.

95% of youth

who have graduated from an AYA Home continue to live in stability.

95% of youth

who have graduated from an AYA Home continue to live in stability.

Covid-19 Update

COVID UPDATE: CODE BLUE

0 – 5% of drop-in staff have COVID or are in isolation AND/OR Kent County data indicates a lower risk level AND/OR potential COVID transmission or exposure among AYA staff and/or youth is low.

MEASURES IN PLACE

Some capacity limits; Expanded community partners, up to 2 people/agency; standard donation drops; all tours allowed; in-person meetings allowed following COVID guidelines.

Learn More