To the editor:
Youth homelessness in Minnesota is a real problem even in southern Minnesota.
Currently the Minnesota legislature has been deciding what to do with a surplus. I believe they could use this money to increase funding for the Homeless Youth Act (Minn Statute 256K.45). This Act provides funding for programs which serve homeless youth.
In Mankato there is a program called the Reach which provides services to homeless youth such as place to shower, a food pantry, toiletries, independent living skills classes for cooking, budgeting, and renting apartments, and computers for homework, applying for jobs, and writing resumes. For youth who are homeless, these services are crucial to help them become independent and self-sufficient. The Reach serves youth from Brown County as well as seven surrounding counties.
Many of us won't give much thought to where we will sleep tonight but if we do the options likely won't include sleeping under a bridge overpass, in a laundry or storage room of an apartment building, abandoned buildings around town, or in parking garage stairwells which are all places youth have identified in the last year in Region 9 according to the Reach.
I am encouraging you to support programs like the Reach with volunteer hours, supply drives, or by emailing your legislators and asking them to support the HYA. You can find The Reach on Facebook or at 507-720-0331. You can access your legislator's information at www.leg.state.mn.org and clicking on "who represents me".