Supportive Housing and Services Make a Difference for Teens

After moving to Portland Village with his family, 13-year-old Elzie stopped coming home after school and left the house several times a week to hang out with youth downtown Minneapolis. Being picked up by police for violating curfew, Elzie would be brought to the local Juvenile Detention center.

Fortunately, he was identified as a potential participant in the Curfew Diversion Program, a pilot program launched in partnership between the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and The Link, a local nonprofit agency that serves youth and families. The program diverts young people from the criminal justice system for violating curfew or truancy, and focuses instead on offering supportive services to youth and their family. Elzie and his mother were asked if he would be interested in participating and he had the courage to give it a try. Since participating in the program, Elzie has improved his school attendance. No longer is he out past curfew and his relationship with his mother has improved. Elzie often talks about the outings he attends with his case worker and he states that he has a good relationship with her and is appreciative of someone spending time with him outside of the home.

Programs like the Curfew Diversion Program amplify the impact of safe and supportive family housing like Portland Village. Elzie agreed to represent the program in a recent press conference with Attorney Mike Freeman regarding the program impact. Elzie talked about how his behavior has improved after receiving support from The Link.