The Oasis for Youth Resource Center was established by community members as an all-volunteer response to address the barriers and lack of services for the rising number of suburban youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Established with the support of Oak Grove Presbyterian Church, Oasis for Youth opened its doors in July of 2010 as an innovative, entrepreneurial and grassroots intervention. Working closely with schools in Bloomington, Richfield and Edina, Oasis for Youth mobilized the volunteer and financial support of local community members, churches, and civic organizations to connect homeless and at-risk youth to services and supports.
Since 2010, Oasis has experienced tremendous growth. Resource Center usage grew from 90 visits by youth in the first year of operation to 1,462 visits in 2014. As the number of youth served grew, Oasis added more intensive services and professional staff with expertise. In 2012, we hired case management staff, and professional program management in 2013. Community volunteers remain a key component of our program, providing support to youth in the Resource Center and assisting with daily operations. Oasis for Youth also expanded outreach to youth on-site at area schools, bridging the transportation barriers many youth encounter by bringing resources and case management services to at-risk youth. The organization has grown by collaboration, partnering with other agencies to meet the complex needs of youth with on-site mental health, public health and legal services, and improved access to educational, employment and food support. Oasis continued to grow the organization's capacity and expertise by hiring our first executive director and expanding our board of directors in the spring of 2015.
2007: A small group of residents came together with a shared concern for young people who found themselves alone and without safe or reliable housing. These seven women began as a group of concerned citizens advocating for services in their communities.
2008: These advocates spent one year studying the situation, networking with existing youth service providers and speaking with various stakeholders including school administrators, teachers, social workers, personnel from Hennepin County and the State of Minnesota, and youth.
2009: A Needs Assessment Study commissioned by the group confirmed what the group had consistently heard: young people experiencing homelessness and housing instability were everywhere, including the suburbs of Hennepin County and their numbers were growing. There were no programs targeting youth experiencing homelessness in south Hennepin, and none of the existing providers in the metro area had the capacity to expand to the suburbs.
June 2010: Knowing that youth are most successful when they are able to remain in the communities where they are comfortable, have friends, attend school and go to work. the advocates became providers and launched the Oasis for Youth Resource Center with the generous support of Oak Grove Presbyterian Church.
October 2011: Oasis for Youth incorporated and formed an independent board.
February 2012: Oasis for Youth received 501(c)(3) tax exempt status from the IRS.
June 2012: Oasis for Youth hired case management staff to more effectively meet the needs of youth and leverage our volunteer resources.
April 2013: Oasis expanded case management staff and hired a full-time program director.
March 2015: Oasis hired its first executive director
2015: Oasis increased case management and outreach staff to start 2016 with full-time executive director, program manager, lead case manager and 3 case managers/outreach staff. Community outreach was added. In total, 215 individual youth were served—these youth made 2,019 visits to the Drop-In Center.