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Avivo has new partners helping reduce homelessness in Minnesota

Avivo is partnering with Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Neighborhood House to serve Minnesotans experiencing homelessness, helping them move toward stabilization. The new partnership will provide basic adult education, career education, and housing stability to 120 individuals experiencing homelessness over a two year period.

The new three-way partnership showcases the strengths of each nonprofit. It’s funded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Pathways to Prosperity grant and the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership. The program is also funded by The Saint Paul Foundation and the F.R. Bigelow Foundation.

Neil, Avivo participant, pushes a mechanical jack at Catholic Charities’ Higher Ground.

Avivo will offer five different career education options onsite at Catholic Charities’ Higher Ground, an overnight emergency shelter and residential shelter in St. Paul. A career navigator and career counselor from Avivo will work with Catholic Charities to identify candidates.

“I’m really excited about this partnership,” says Lena Balk, director of career education at Avivo. “We can serve individuals experiencing homelessness onsite; so they don’t need to go anywhere else for help.”

“I’m really excited about this partnership,” says Lena Balk, director of career education at Avivo. “We can serve individuals experiencing homelessness onsite; so they don’t need to go anywhere else for help.”

Before in-depth career education courses begin, Neighborhood House instructors will work with participants to fill any adult basic education gaps. “We’ll include tutoring and co-teaching with Avivo staff to provide English, math, and basic digital literacy instruction,” says John Ashby, adult education manager at Neighborhood House.

After education gaps are filled, participants can then choose which career education path they would like to take. Providing education where people live removes a major barrier to higher education for individuals: transportation cost and time.

Catholic Charities will not only provide housing for participants in this partnership, but will also provide the space for education to take place. “We’re very excited to enter into partnership with Avivo and Neighborhood House,” says Lisa Geehan, program manager at Catholic Charities, “We’re looking forward to seeing our job seekers achieve permanent employment.”

This partnership officially begins in summer 2018. Stay tuned for future updates.