By Lauren Erchul
Did you know that District 10 is home to an emergency shelter and supportive housing program for homeless youth? Booth Brown House, which was built in 1907 by The Salvation Army, began as a hospital for young mothers. Throughout the years, it has also served as an orphanage for children. Nowadays, Booth Brown House has a 16 bed overnight Emergency Shelter for youth 18-21 and a 35 unit supportive housing program for youth 16-24. Booth Brown House is staffed 24 hours a day by direct care staff and all youth have an assigned Case Manager that assists youth in planning their next steps. Booth Brown House has been here in the Como Park neighborhood working with youth and young adults for over 100 years. Over the years Booth Brown House has truly looked to adapt to what the needs are in the community in an effort to best serve the young adult population.
Erin Foss, the Program Director at Booth Brown House, has been running the facility for 6 years. Erin has seen the program flourish in her time as Program Director: “Services BBH offers the community might start with housing and shelter, but goes far beyond those basic needs. While every journey is different, Booth Brown House sees every youth exiting the program as an empowered and whole person who is able to make lasting change. While in the program youth work on anything from job security, to connection to service providers, to building up rental history, to furthering their education, to building healthy relationships. BBH is really here to be a place that youth can find stability, grow as a young adult, and have support in taking the next steps in their journey.”
Social service programs that serve a displaced population often face adverse problems. A big struggle that BBH faces is helping to support youth in their next housing option when housing costs are so high; it is very challenging to help youth take those next steps when the affordable housing options are so limited. Many resources and services in the community are focused on either children or adults; the population being served at BBH falls right in the middle and although they may qualify to access services for either children or adults neither option is usually the best fit. This is what makes programs that are specifically focused on the 16-24 year old age group so important and programs needs support to continue operating. There are 3 different ways people can help support BBH; 1. Through cash donations. The cost to continue operating BBH continues to increase so we are always in need of money 2. Through the donation of tangible goods. BBH is always in need of lots of household basics such as towels, hygiene items, cleaning supplies, bedding (twin size), laundry baskets, winter gear during the cold months, etc. 3. Through the donation of time. BBH is always looking for people wanting to support the work we do to join our Advisory Council, gather friends and family to host a game night or other activity for our youth, or simply help us complete a project (painting, yard work, etc).
Looking for a way to help support this program? Booth Brown House will be accepting donations at this year’s Ice Cream Social on July 14th! Needed items: chapstick, sunscreen, bug spray, deodorant, reusable water bottles, travel size lotion, new shorts (all sizes both mens and womens), new tshirts (all sizes both mens and womens), bath towels, laundry detergent pods. Checks can be made out to Booth Brown House and brought to the event or mailed directly to BBH at 1471 Como Ave; St. Paul, MN 55108. Online donations can be accepted at: salvationarmynorth.org. When a person enters their address their donation will be “routed” to their neighborhood so they would come to BBH (you may also indicate BBH on your donation).