Image of the new Peris Hill housing that recently opened up in Minneapolis

Have you heard the news? The new PERIS Hill in Minneapolis’ Lowry Hill neighborhood has opened! As an organization with a portfolio of work supporting youth aging out of foster care, we were excited to see this development open—the first of its kind, PERIS Hill offers an innovative, affordable housing model that includes and supports young people who are aging out of foster care.

“Young people aging out of foster care, disproportionately Black and brown youth, are at higher risk of falling into homelessness,” PERIS Foundation Executive Director Courtney Kiernat said in announcing the opening. “PERIS works to prevent that and surround youth with support as they transition into adulthood. It’s a first-of-its-kind model that provides intentional affordable housing and support for youth aging out of foster care. Our partnerships were vital in making this dream a reality.”

We are familiar with this population and the role stable, supportive housing can play in their lives from our longtime contributions to the Minnesota Youth in Transition Database (MNYTD) survey. We survey youth at ages 19 and 21 to check in on how life is going—and use their responses to understand how to improve services meant to support their independent living.

PERIS Hill includes 45 units—30 for adults and 15 for young people aging out of foster care in Hennepin County. PERIS Hill is unique in its mixed-housing model with onsite supportive services for young people, provided by The Link, in a beautiful onsite space designed with youth input. Market competitive amenities available to all tenants include in-house washer and dryer, fitness center, bike lounge/repair station, community spaces, and large windows in every unit. Applications to live at PERIS Hill are open now!

We have been a partner in planning this housing development through working with the Graves Foundation, which created the PERIS Foundation and PERIS Hill.

“The Improve Group has been a valuable partner as we make sure PERIS continues to be responsive to community needs and what young people say is most important to them,” Kiernat said.

We have had the privilege of supporting this project since the earliest planning:

  • Back in 2015, we worked with the Graves Foundation to conduct a national scan of best practices for serving youth aging out of foster care. We then facilitated workshops with community and government agencies to identify the available services and gaps.
  • In 2018 we facilitated planning sessions with Connections to Independence (C2i) and The Link to identify how youth could be most successful in PERIS once the site opened.
  • Most recently, we partnered with the PERIS team to design and implement an evaluation that will help monitor youth outcomes and report back on youth experiences, providing the team with opportunities for reflection and adaptation as this innovative model launches.

We enjoy being long-time partners to clients and drawing on different skillsets in evaluation, strategic planning, and community engagement as clients’ needs change.