Life House Earns Top Award For Commitment to Homeless Youth

Within the last year Life House has helped more than 800 young people in at least one of its programs and housed 58 teens and young adults in the housing units.

DULUTH, Minn. – Life House staff say it feels great to be recognized with an award even though it came as a complete surprise.

Life House in Duluth has a lot to brag about.

It’s one of six top human service organizations in the state to receive the Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award.

“That’s really a big deal, just really honored that we were selected,” said Life House Community Engagement Officer Margie Nelson.

Life House earned the award for its outstanding commitment to human services clients.

“The only way we’ll ever fail is if we give up. If they give up that’s the only way they’ll fail. If we stick with it we will see success,” Life House Executive Director Maude Dornfeld.

Life House works with youth ages 14–24. Many programs focus on mental health, housing, education and employment.

“As a law enforcement professional when I have someone that doesn’t belong in jail, isn’t going to belong in the hospital and needs some help, I can turn here and they receive that help in a very professional high caliber method,” said  Nick Lepak of the Duluth Police Department.

Life House staff believe the Circle of Excellence Award is validation to keep going.

“We’re going to continue to provide high quality services for homeless youth in our area, regardless; and it’s just exciting for us to be recognized that we’re doing this work,” said Nelson.

The Office of Economic Opportunity Housing Team nominated Life House.

“This is an opportunity we see to lift up the work, say thank you in the small way that we can,” said Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper.

Commissioner Piper says about half of the 10,000 homeless people in Minnesota are 21 years old and under and sometimes they fall through the cracks of the system.

“This really cares for those vulnerable youth in an environment that’s really specifically designed and tailored for them in a space that’s safer and more supportive to meet their needs and also I think appreciates their opportunity,” said Piper.

Life House depends on funding from the Department of Human Services.

Its current two–year grant totals $1.5 million.

Within the last year Life House has helped more than 800 young people in at least one of its programs and housed 58 teens and young adults in the housing units.

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