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Dangerous Cold Prompts More Emergency Youth Shelter Options

At any given time, more than a dozen youth are without any shelter in Hennepin County, according to a release.

Cold weather snap begins Sunday night in Minnesota.
Cold weather snap begins Sunday night in Minnesota.
As Minnesotans brace themselves for an extreme cold snap, Hennepin County and its partners are working to ensure that as many residents as possible have warm shelter.

According to a press release, YouthLink, a resource center for homeless and at-risk youth ages 16-24, opened at 8 p.m. Saturday night and will remain open around the clock through 8 a.m. Wednesday. The shelter is located at 41 N. 12th St. in Minneapolis. Volunteers are also needed for Monday and Tuesday.

The National Weather Service predicts a low of -26 degrees Fahrenheit Sunday followed by a high of -17 degrees Monday. Winds of 10 to 15 mph will further add to the bitter cold. Tuesday.

Here's more from the release:

At any given time, more than a dozen youth are without any shelter in Hennepin County.

The extra effort in frigid weather is worthwhile, said Heather Huseby YouthLink’s executive director.

“Homeless youth often are hidden,” she said, adding that by the time young people are looking for shelter, they often are desperate.

Other organizations also responded to the need for warm shelter space. Shelters for single adults, which normally close during the day, will remain open for their guests. The Harbor Light Center in downtown Minneapolis will welcome anyone to stay inside that facility during the extreme weather. Families that already are in emergency housing are entitled to 24-hour indoor shelter. Harbor Light is located at 1010 Currie Ave, Minneapolis.

The Basilica of St. Mary will be open Sunday as a warming space, but will be closed on Monday. The basilica is located at 88 North 17th Street, Minneapolis.

In addition, all Hennepin County libraries will remain open during normal hours. For a listing of library locations and hours, visit http://tinyurl.com/oqcrwcf.

Others in need of shelter can call 211 for assistance.

One remaining concern, Beckmen said, is for families that have been living out of their cars, especially in suburban areas. Moving forward, he went on, the city-county partnership would like to collaborate with suburban churches and other organizations to provide safe, warm, shelter.

Frigid temperatures need to be taken seriously, said Hennepin County Emergency Management Director Eric Waage.

”When it hits the very low temperatures, along with the wind, you have a very serious issue with exposed flesh,” he said. “When it’s minus 50 wind chill, you’ll have damage in less than 5 minutes.”

To speak with someone at YouthLink, please call YouthLink Executive Director Heather Huseby at 763-442-5487.

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