Helping Homeless Youth in Michigan

Michigan Network for Youth and Families

What is MNYF?

The Michigan Network for Youth and Families has provided over 30 years of statewide advocacy, education, information and training to, and on behalf of, runaway and homeless youth services providers. The vision of the network is to support our member agencies to provide relevant, community-based, state-of-the-art services to youth in need and their families within their respective communities.

Our Mission:

Strengthening Michigan youth in need, their families, and communities by providing quality support, information, training, and advocacy for our members.

History of MNYF

The Michigan Network for Youth and Families (MNYF) is a 501c3 nonprofit membership organization. The MNYF provides training, technical assistance and advocacy for and on behalf of the 22 member organizations serving Homeless and Runaway Youth in Michigan.

 Late 1960s Early 1970s

In response to the overwhelming number of runaway youth communities began organizing and developing services unique to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our society.  Some of the earliest programs and services began here in Michigan; these organizations continue to create innovative best practice strategies to support runaway, homeless and in-risk youth.

  • Ozone of Ann Arbor, Sanctuary of Royal Oak, Cory Place of Bay City opened to serve identified street culture.
  • PA154 of 1973 Passes: PA154 of 1973 directs Department of Social Services (DSS) toward a comprehensive plan of services.
  • Runaway Plan Task Force includes current providers and DSS.
  • The Plan – The MNYF is born.
  • Contracted services through private non-profit providers
  • Networking toward Best Practice service
  • Funding established through the Department of Social Services
  • Programming grows from the original two agencies to five then to fourteen across Michigan


The decade of the 80’s proved to be an exciting time of growth while an uncertain time for funding priorities for the State of Michigan. The Network and providers throughout Michigan faced challenges and found solutions together.  Economic hardship for the State results in a loss of funding for the Network.  However strong efforts continue to expand on the supports and services to strengthen providers in innovative best practice strategies.

  • A Board of Directors is established of volunteers through member organizations
  • Advocacy efforts established to ward off similar funding cuts to providers
  • Funds secured from the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention funds
  • A focus on response to status offenders diverting from jail and detention
  • Six new programs emerge centered in rural Michigan
  • Stand alone Network offices open in Lansing
  • Centralized crisis line developed
  • Additional 50% funding cuts are threatened
  • Network advocacy efforts are instrumental to reduce this loss to 25%
  • Federal Funding secured to increase infrastructure, hire personnel and expand education.
  • Missing Children and Homeless Youth became a priority for the Network and member providers.
  • PA 72 Passes : PA72 passes along with appropriations of $500,000 focused on Homeless Youth;
  • Transitional Living services are created – HUD funding distributed by MSHDA
  • The banning of jailing runaway youth occurs


  • Restoration of the $765,000, the 25%, to providers.
  • Direct influence in the passing of emancipation laws in Michigan
  • Focus on data collection and reporting results in National recognition for the Network and providers in Michigan
  • Focus on improved partnerships with law enforcement throughout the State
  • Partnerships among the Network, the Coalition Against Homelessness and the Michigan Federation for Children emerge
  • Youth engagement / positive youth development become a primary focus of provider and Network philosophy through events like Dome Day, Board of Director youth appointed position

 2000 – 2010

  • MNYF, MSHDA and HYR providers lead the way in piloting TBRA for Youth
  • Introduction of HMIS
  • Benchmark collaborative of MNYF and MCAH with HMIS across Michigan
  • ARCUS – Training to build capacity in serving LGBTQ youth
  • The MNYF faces more devastating funding losses impacting the closure of central office and the layoff of all personnel
  • On-going training and technical assistance through the efforts of a volunteer Board and member volunteers


  • MNYF submit formal advocacy securing effective language within the National Alliance to End Homelessness and HUD definitions of homelessness
  • RHYMIS and HMIS merge for universal data
  • Engagement with the Federal RHY T&TA – an MNYF member is seated on national Advisory Board
  • MNYF becomes a member of the Michigan Federation for Children
  • MNYF joins the National Network 4 Youth (NN4Y)


Today the Michigan Network for Youth and Families has 19 member organizations funded through State, Federal and community based resources.  The Board of Directors continues to manage the operation of the organization delivering support, training, and technical assistance to the members.




All Youth Served

189 Day Follow-up

90% current housing is safe and stable

89%enrolled in school, graduated, obtained GED, or enrolled in completed skills training

86%have not runaway since program exit (under 18 only)

88% have not been involved in juvenile justice since program exit (under 18 only)

Basic Care Center (BCC)

90 Day Follow-up

80% remains in safe and stable housing

86% enrolled in school, graduated, obtained GED, or enrolled in/completed skills training

87% have not runaway since program exit (under 18 only)

87% have not been involved in juvenile justice since program exit (under 18 only)

Transitional Living Program (TLP)

90 Day Follow-up

77% enrolled in school, graduated, obtained GED, or enrolled in/completed skills training

58% currently employed or seeking employment & registered with MI Works or unable to work & receiving cash benefits

87% have medical coverage & access to health care

93% avoided subsequent parenthood since program exit

96% received life skills training and located safe housing

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