Open Your Heart provided funding to The Link for street outreach supplies to provide to youth experiencing homelessness during the winter months.
“Open Your Heart funds ensured youth at risk of and experiencing homelessness at C.O.R.E Drop-In Center had adequate resources to stay safe during the 2019-2020 winter. C.O.R.E serves many youth who live out of their cars or on the street during these cold months, so being able to provide appropriate winter clothing, gas cards, bus passes, culturally specific hygiene supplies, and gift cards for warm meals was crucial to guaranteeing youth stayed safe before their entry into shelter and supportive housing.
This client story is told by our C.O.R.E Drop-In Center Program Manager, Stephanie Plaster:
Every year, the Federal Government’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department mandates that each county across the nation conduct outreach for 24 hours to count and survey unsheltered homeless individuals and families. This coordinated outreach attempts to demonstrate the need for appropriate funding in each area. When my outreach partner and I were performing outreach in Eagan, we came across a couple sitting on the floor of the transit station. We asked them if they were planning on sleeping there that night and let them know they were not in trouble and that we were there to provide information and resources if they were interested.
They stated they needed to sleep there because the single's shelter was full. My partner and I asked them what they needed and they replied that they didn't have any winter gear, food or blankets. We had hats, scarves, gloves, hot packs for inside their gloves, and bottles of water in my car. I asked if they were willing to wait while I ran back to CORE to get them items more specific to their needs. Fortunately, they agreed. I returned 30 minutes later with a zero-degree sleeping bag, winter boots, a gift card to McDonalds, ChapStick, and lotion. All of these materials would have been difficult or impossible to acquire without the support of Open Your Heart’s grant support.”