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To provide a safe place where youth (ages 16 through 23) experiencing homelessness can acquire basic needs and resources to become self-sufficient. 

Empowering youth experiencing homelessness to shape their futures as self-sufficient and thriving young adults. 

From the moment youth walk into Open Doors for Youth, our interaction with them will be guided by the following philosophy and principles.


Nine evidence-based, guiding principles to help youth overcome homelessness

The principles begin with the perspective that youth are on a journey; all of our interactions with youth are filtered through that journey perspective. This means we must be trauma-informed, non-judgmental and work to reduce harm. By holding these principles, we can build a trusting relationship that allows us to focus on youths’ strengths and opportunities for positive development. Through all of this, we approach youth as whole beings through a youth-focused collaborative system of support.

  • We will mobilize the community to address youth homelessness and housing instability through advocacy and education.

  • We will partner with local organizations, services, government entities, and volunteers to meet the needs of homeless youth.

  • We will assist youth in setting goals, pursuing creative solutions, and removing barriers to self-sufficiency without judgment.

  • We believe in our young clients and will nurture potential, promote dignity, and support bold steps by all.







Communities across Minnesota are awakening to the reality of youth homelessness. Innovative programs have been operating for over twenty years in the Metro area. Experts agree however, the best approach is often to keep the young person in their “home community” and provide support and resources in a familiar setting. In Elk River, a small group of citizens decided to mobilize our community and establish a drop-in resource center for youth in need. Drop-in centers provide the opportunity for youth to access both immediate goods and services and more intensive services that lead to reintegration with the community. After years of researching, networking, and hard work, the vision became a reality. In March 2015, Open Doors for Youth began welcoming young people seeking assistance.