Zumbro Lutheran Church and LSS Team Up to Open New Resource Center for Youth Experiencing Homelessness
When Zumbro Lutheran Church in Rochester undertook a major capital campaign four years ago to build a beautiful new and refreshed space downtown, church members also started to dream how they could make a significant impact in the community with 10% of their campaign budget devoted to mission outreach.
The church’s mission planning team reached out to Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS), a longtime mission partner, to see how they could team up to meet unmet needs in the community. An exciting idea that emerged was a youth resource center for youth who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. The LSS Youth Resource Center would provide a safe place where youth could go, connect with caring adults and find resources they need to live stable, hope-filled lives.
“We wanted to develop a mission outreach where we could serve unmet needs, make a significant impact in the community and utilize our downtown location for this purpose,” explained Sarah Lichty, director of Mission for Zumbro Lutheran Church. “This new LSS Youth Resource Center hits all those markers.”
A former youth room on the ground level of Zumbro Lutheran Church has been converted into the new LSS Youth Resource Center that features a training kitchen, a large meeting space with a TV and games and offices for case management meetings and counseling support. Youth will have access to life skills classes, education and career planning, meals, and a food pantry, transportation resources, personal hygiene items, computer and internet access, and referral to other community resources. Support for finding short-term housing is also available.
On any given night, 60 to 100 youth are experiencing youth homelessness in the Rochester and Southeastern Minnesota areas. LSS Rochester Youth Services supports youth ages 16-24 to overcome barriers of homelessness. The downtown location in Rochester will offer youth easier access to services and support. Starting on July 18, the Youth Resource Center will be open Mondays from 3-6 p.m., Thursdays from
1-6 p.m. and by appointment on Fridays. The Resource Center will add Tuesday and Wednesday schedules in September.
“We are thrilled to be teaming up with Zumbro Lutheran Church on this exciting new space and resource center for youth,” said Tammy Moses director of Youth Services for Lutheran Social Service. “Zumbro is an amazing partner and we’re looking forward to how we’ll grow together to serve youth in meaningful, new ways.”
The community is invited to an Open House at Zumbro Lutheran Church, 624 Third Avenue Southwest in downtown Rochester, on Monday, July 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to tour the new space and learn more about the initiative. Lichty said that Zumbro Lutheran Church invites other worshiping communities and members of the community to get involved as well to teach classes, share a hobby or donate food and basic necessities.