By Marielle Mohs

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The temperatures outside can be life-threatening for those experiencing homelessness right now, but Minnesotans are stepping in to help.

YouthLink MN is a place of refuge for anyone ages 16 to 24 years old experiences homelessness or an unsafe home life in downtown Minneapolis.

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When the temperatures took a dangerous drop on Friday, they decided to extend their hours to a be a constant warming shelter.

“We’re open 24 hours now, especially for this weekend going all the way until Monday,” said Johnnie Robinson, who was once a homeless youth himself and now is paying forward by working with the youth directly at YouthLink.

Robinson says they are expecting a surge in need for shelter this weekend, so they are collecting cash donations to put some youth in hotels.

“Right we have 27 youth in hotels right now, and weather like this over a four-day period, we’ll probably see maybe 30 more extra youth,” said Robinson.

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For COVID-19 precautions, anyone who enters YouthLink gets their temperatures scanned at the front entrance, masks are required, and sleeping cots are spread out. They also have a storage room full of supplies to give out for free for those in need.

“We got hand warmers, we make sure youth leave with at least a jacket,” said Robinson. “We don’t want youth outside with nothing less than a jacket.”

There are several activists groups collecting donations to put the unsheltered in hotels, or supplies to give to people living in tent encampments to help them stay warm outside in these conditions.

Supply Drives:

Hotel Fundraisers:

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Minneapolis Warming Shelters Map:

Marielle Mohs