Nonprofit to Expand Hours Near Super Bowl to Protect Homeless Youth from Exploitation

November 23, 2017 09:51 PM

At any given time, 6,000 young people are homeless in the state of Minnesota.

With big crowds expected for the Super Bowl, one organization is set to play a key role for those in danger of being exploited during those 10 days. 

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"Young people are the hidden population of homelessness," said Heather Huseby, executive director of YouthLink, a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring young people don't fall through the cracks. 

RELATED: Night of Hope: Sleep Out Benefits Organization Helping Homeless Youth

The numbers are tough to fathom.

"We serve over 100 young people a day who are facing homelessness," Huseby said. 

But at YouthLink, they work to change that with basic needs and so much more, 365 days a year.

Anastasia Kramlinger's specialty is intervention, often times with victims of trafficking.

"I help youth that come in with basic needs between the ages of 16 and 24," said Kramlinger, a YouthLink intervention case manager.

With the Super Bowl only months away, Kramlinger and YouthLink realize their resources are crucial. 

"With any sort of event bringing people into an area, just the amount of demand goes up," Kramlinger said. 

The FBI says Minneapolis is the 13th largest hub for child prostitution, and YouthLink tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that every night you can find more than 500 young people without a home. That's why during the 10 days of Super Bowl festivities the group will expand their hours and open their doors 24/7 for those in need.

RELATED: SUMMER HARVEST: YouthLink

"We'll be the hub that determines where those youth are brought to for intervention," Huseby said. 

The current YouthLink building on North 12th Street is getting a makeover, and next door a new apartment housing development will open just days before the game. 

"This will be one of the first of its kind in downtown Minneapolis," Huseby said of the complex. 

Not everyone can relate to homelessness, but YouthLink knows it's real and plans to be that source of comfort for young people during the Super Bowl and beyond. 

"These are not throwaway young people," Huseby said. "They still have an opportunity to make a difference." 

For more information on what services YouthLink provides and the partners they work with, visit http://www.youthlinkmn.org/

Credits

Brett Hoffland

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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