Our History

In late 2012, a series of news articles raised awareness of young people in Anoka County who needed basic resources. The stories were published during the coldest days of winter and sparked an immediate reaction from the public. Partnerships were formed, donations were collected, and plans were made to create HOPE 4 Youth, an organization to support at-risk young people.

In early 2013, doors opened to the HOPE 4 Youth Drop-In Center. In the early days, the center’s work focused mainly on providing basic needs for youth experiencing homelessness in the north metro suburbs of the Twin Cities.

In late 2016, HOPE 4 Youth expanded work on long-term solutions to ending youth homelessness with the opening of HOPE Place, a transitional housing facility for 18- to 24-year-olds to live while rebuilding their lives.

Since then, HOPE 4 Youth’s outreach has expanded into nearby communities. Today, our staff work with people who are willing to open their homes to young people under 25 who are at risk for homelessness. The HOPE Homes program turns these couch-hopping situations into more structured agreements that are beneficial to the hosts and the young people who are living with them.

Funding for our programs and services comes from a variety of sources listed in our annual report.

Our Milestones

  • 2012

    The inspiration

    Brian Swanson, an Anoka County businessman, and Karrie Schaaf, the homeless youth & families liaison for the Anoka-Hennepin School District, meet for the first time to discuss how to help the young people in need of basic resources. Their vision, passion and drive laid the groundwork for HOPE 4 Youth.

  • 2013

    The doors open

    HOPE 4 Youth’s Drop-In Center opens to youth facing homelessness on March 4.


  • 2014

    Teamwork develops

    HOPE 4 Youth forms a partnership with the Anoka WorkForce Center and begins community outreach with the StreetWorks Collaborative and YMCA.

  • 2015

    The mission expands

    A building in Coon Rapids is purchased and will be remodeled into a transitional housing facility for youth experiencing homelessness.


  • 2016

    A new era

    HOPE 4 Youth’s transitional housing facility opens when 12 young people move into HOPE Place and begin to learn the skills needed to become independent, self-sufficient adults.

  • 2017

    Shopping for support

    A new funding stream is created when Hope’s Closet, a retail boutique filled with donations and staffed by volunteers, opens to shoppers.


  • 2018

    More housing options

    HOPE 4 Youth receives a grant from the Pohlad Family Foundation for the future HOPE Homes program.

  • 2020

    We remained open

    Our facilities stayed open to continue to serve our youth and meet their needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • 2023

    New facility funding

    We received a grant from the state of Minnesota to fund a new facility.