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Our Story

3:11 Youth Housing and Grand Rapids HQ have come together to form A.Y.A. Youth Collective, an organization providing circles of support for youth facing homelessness. Housing insecurity is complex, and we have partnered for years to address its many dimensions. As a unified organization, we have the capacity to create a more connective, cohesive experience for young people on their journey toward housing and stability.

A.Y.A. stands for As You Are, and it is a commitment that every youth will find resources and authentic relationships, As You Are. Building relationships, identifying valuable resources, and finding safety come from being accepted and celebrated as you are. The Youth Collective portion of our name highlights how we center youth voices in our mission. We work with youth, and community partners, to break cycles of homelessness. It takes a collective effort, and we want you to be a part of the Youth Collective too!

Timeline

2012

January

Jonathan and Lauren VanKeulen, along with two members of their youth group, came together to launch 3:11 Youth Housing.

Jon, Lauren, and youth began researching the need in the community. At that time, there were only two apartments dedicated to housing youth ages 18-24 who were experiencing homelessness in the city. Through research and iteration, the 3:11 model was formed.

2013

May

3:11 Youth Housing launches the Naylor home.

2014

September

HQ and 3:11 Leadership met for the first time.

December

The HQ Drop-In Center officially opens

2015

March

HQ and 3:11 work with Johnson Center to convene community conversation called the Youthful Date Project.

2016

June

HQ opens the nurse’s station.

September

3:11 Youth Housing launches the Cherry home.

2017

July

3:11 Youth Housing launches the Underhill home.

HQ Drop-In Center adds individual appointment days.

October

First collaborative grant awarded to HQ and 3:11 from Herman Miller Cares Foundation.

December

3:11 Youth Housing launches the Logan home.

2018

January

3:11 Youth Housing launches the Lyon home.

October

First joint Connecting the Dots event

2019

July

HQ Drop-In Center expands weekly drop-in hours.

Fall

3:11 Youth Housing launches the Union home.

The due-diligence period began for the merger.

November

3:11  and HQ launch their Comprehensive Health Initiative.

 

2020

February

3:11 Youth Housing and HQ Drop-In Center members vote unanimously to merge organizations.

July

The merger between 3:11 Youth Housing and HQ Drop-In Center becomes legally official. The name A.Y.A. Youth Collective is chosen for the merged organization.

 

 August

The A.Y.A. Youth Collective brand is launched and introduced to the general public.

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COVID UPDATE: CODE YELLOW

Kent County data indicates a moderate risk level. Potential COVID transmission or exposure among AYA staff and/or youth is lower.

MEASURES IN PLACE

Appointments for up to 10 youth at a time; COVID hours; Core community partners, plus wellness, 1 person/agency; normal donation drops

HOURS

Monday - Friday from 12pm to 5pm

 

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