Lerner Publishing Group and Avivo Establish Avivo Village for Twin Cities Homeless Population

MINNEAPOLIS, MN— Lerner Publishing Group is pleased to announce an agreement with Avivo to lease warehouse space at 1251 Washington Ave North in Minneapolis for the purposes of building an indoor village tiny house community for people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in the Twin Cities. This project, called Avivo Village, will be the first of its kind in the area and will provide transitional housing to 300-400 people per year, with priority going to local tribal members.

Renovations at the site have begun and the project is being documented through photographs for possible future collaboration that would be turned into a children’s book, similar to A Library Story (Lerner, 2006) which documented the development and construction of the Central Library in downtown Minneapolis.

“We have been in the North Loop neighborhood for more than 60 years, and with Minneapolis as the epicenter of the Black Lives Matter movement this summer due to the murder of George Floyd, it was important to us as a family business to be able to give back to underserved communities,” said Adam Lerner, Publisher & CEO of Lerner Publishing Group. “We had just outgrown our warehouse and moved operations to a larger space in Mankato, Minn., so it was a great opportunity to support the fight against homelessness. It’s one thing to establish a committee or make a public statement, but we had the chance to make a real difference in hundreds of people’s lives by working with a ground breaking initiative like Avivo Village to provide a temporary solution to an endemic problem in our community.”

An innovate approach to addressing unsheltered homelessness, Avivo Village is the first indoor community of its kind, made of 100 secure, private dwellings or “tiny houses”. Right now Avivo Village is home to 16 residents and as the project evolves there will be 100 adults living at Avivo Village at any time with the goal to transition people into permanent housing within 30 to 90 days. It affords dignity and essential services like substance use disorder treatment, mental health therapy, medical care, and pathways to permanent housing for the community’s most vulnerable neighbors. Residents can begin to discover next steps for permanent supportive housing, obtain employment, and receive other life advancement supports. In addition to the tiny personal structures, the building will have office space for service providers, case managers, and security services. Avivo Village prioritizes serving American Indians who are currently living on the streets; however, the program is open to anyone experiencing unsheltered homelessness. Avivo Village aims to be fully open to individuals in March.

“The launch of Avivo Village is a tremendous example of what can happen when the community rallies together to address the issue of unsheltered homelessness,” shared Avivo President & CEO Kelly Matter. “It offers stability and security, first. A safe place out of the elements to take personal steps to permanent housing. The tiny structure model is COVID-19 aware, helping alleviate fears many individuals have in seeking shelter. The indoor community will be surrounded by trained staff who’ll walk alongside each one, connecting them to just the right services that help them find permanent, safe places to live. It’s one of the things Avivo does best.”

Avivo provides a full spectrum of chemical and mental health services, housing services, career education, and employment services. Last year, they helped 813 individuals transition from homelessness to housing with supports. Nearly 3,000 people found employment or entered careers, and 2,000 individuals moved off public assistance completely. More than 4,000 individuals increased their health and recovery though Avivo’s chemical and mental health services.

Click here to take a virtual tour of what Avivo Village looks like so far!

About Lerner Publishing Group
Lerner Publishing Group creates high-quality fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. Founded in 1959, Lerner Publishing Group is one of the nation’s largest independent children’s book publishers with fifteen imprints and divisions: Lerner Publications, Millbrook Press™, Carolrhoda Books®, Twenty-First Century Books™, Graphic Universe™, Darby Creek™, Kar-Ben Publishing™, Carolrhoda Lab®, LernerClassroom™, Hungry Tomato®, ediciones Lerner, First Avenue Editions™, Lerner Digital™, Zest Books™, and Lerner Publisher Services™.

About Avivo
Minneapolis-based, nonprofit organization Avivo serves nearly 15,000 Minnesotans each year, helping increase well-being through recovery and career advancement while working to end homelessness. Founded in 1960, Avivo provides chemical and mental health services, housing services, career education, and employment services. Avivo specializes in helping individuals and families who face personal or systemic barriers – poverty, homelessness, joblessness, chemical addiction or mental health concerns – achieve recovery and economic stability. We believe everyone deserves the chance to live well and work well. For more information, visit avivomn.org. Connect with us @AvivoMN on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Media contacts:
Lindsay Matvick
Publicity Manager
800-328-4929, x385

Kim Sheagren
Director of Communications, Avivo
651-600-2827 (cell)

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