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A Place 4 Me selects operating partner for youth drop-in center

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In December 2020, the A Place 4 Me Steering Committee released a request for qualifications for a community partner with the capacity, flexibility, passion, and alignment with A Place 4 Me’s mission to operate a drop-in center for youth and young adults experiencing housing instability in Cuyahoga County.
Today, the Steering Committee is excited to share that Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM) has been chosen from among five agencies that submitted a response to the request.
LMM was recommended by the Drop-In Center Core Planning Team, which is led in partnership with young adult subject matter experts – young people whose lived expertise fuels their passion for the work. The Core Planning Team was designated by the Steering Committee last fall to lead the effort to develop the drop-in center. With 50 percent of its membership made up of young adult leaders, the team uses an equitable decision-making structure that ensures young adult experts are partners in every step and have the ultimate say in key decisions. The team also developed a set of core values integral to the vision of the drop-in center: youth leadership and partnership, racial and LGBTQ equity, hospitality, highly relational service model, and low-barrier approach.
LMM’s alignment with these core values and proposed approach for operationalizing them within the drop-in center were key factors in the selection process. Other important criteria included capacity for innovation, collaboration, and implementation of strategies to authentically share power with young people. The Core Planning Team led an extensive and thorough due diligence process that demonstrated the value and impact of true young adult partnership, as young people are the experts and bring a uniquely effective lens to the work.
A drop-in center has long been a priority of A Place 4 Me and the REACH Youth Action Board of young adult leaders engaged in the movement, and has been identified as a need by young people experiencing housing instability. The center is intended for young people between the ages of 16 and 24 experiencing housing instability. In addition to meeting immediate and basic needs in a respectful manner that honors the dignity of every young person, the drop-in center will serve as a critical access point to housing resources as well as other services to support the social, emotional and physical well-being of young people. Drop-in centers are essential elements of a systemic approach to prevent and end youth homelessness.
Together, the A Place 4 Me Steering Committee and Drop-In Center Core Planning Team look forward to working with LMM to develop a collaborative operating plan for implementation of the drop-in center later in 2021.
For more information, please reach out to Angela D’Orazio, senior program officer for housing at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, at adorazio@sistersofcharityhealth.org.
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