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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.

2021

April

As COVID cases were on the rise again, our annual Coming Home event plans were pivoted to our first ever virtual event – Staying Home!

August

AYA and the Kent County Continuum of Care (CoC) start the first Youth Action Board in Grand Rapids. 

AYA’s first ever Golf Outing was a huge success! Over 120 golfers came out to support AYA and be a part of the MOST FUN golf outing EVER! (add photo of golf outing).

A few AYA members, along with local artist Jamari Taylor, worked together to create a one-of-a-kind mural in one of our Youth Homes! This mural commemorates the journey many of the youth go on, by acknowledging the past and looking forward to the future.

 

 October

AYA launches the Evans home.

AYA pilots our Direct Cash Transfer program

December

Another first for AYA – we held our first Family Holiday Movie Night at our local Wealthy Theatre!

AYA launches the Lafayette House

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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