Minneapolis Bridge for Youth

What are the goals of the program?

The City of Minneapolis has a partner in addressing youth homelessness in Hennepin County.  Authority over this issue is shared with The Bridge for Youth through the Joint Office to End Homelessness and a dedicated staff member focusing on youth. The Bridge is an 18-bed transitional living center providing a variety of services to homeless youth.   

The Bridge for Youth was founded in 1970 when Sister Rita Steinhagen saw a problem, cared, and responded. She noticed a growing number of unaccompanied youth on the streets of Minneapolis who were increasingly vulnerable to exploitation, prostitution, violence, and illness. Responding to the need, Sister Rita opened The Bridge in the West Bank neighborhood, one of the nation's first refuges for runaway and homeless youth. The Bridge relocated to the East Isles neighborhood in 1975. The Bridge for Youth is dedicated to providing the connection between the current realities of homelessness and a safer, more stable future.  With a dedicated staff and strong support from the community, The Bridge helps hundreds of youth get off the street, into safe shelter, and on to a better life. Its welcoming, residential setting is unique among programs for runaway and homeless youth, providing services at no charge, 24/7/365.  

The Bridge develops approaches that help youth and their families resolve their conflicts and move toward healthier relationships. Each year it serves more than a thousand young people and families with a continuum of services, including:

  • 24-hour hotline
  • Crisis shelter and counseling
  • Youth, parent, and family counseling
  • Transitional programs
  • Ongoing support services

Who are the Partners?

The county has taken the day-to-day lead on regional issues affecting homelessness such as affordable housing and access to transitional environments. The city focuses on more localized youth-centric approaches including family conflict resolution, foster care transitions, and promoting a youth-development culture among adult-serving providers.  

How is the program funded?

The City of Minneapolis took a lead in providing more than $1.8 million in grants and deferred loans to The Bridge. In terms of outcomes, the office has been exceeding its target of 90 new housing opportunities for homeless youth each year following the opening of the Bridge Center for Youth.


The Bridge Center  

NLC Contact:

Andrew Moore, Director, Institute for Youth, Education and Families

moore@nlc.org, (215) 848-6910


Last Updated: August 2015

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