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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Thursday in Bemidji alongside local leaders that it would be awarding $123 million to address youth homelessness across the nation.

A $2 million grant is designated to the Northwest Minnesota Foundation in Bemidji. It's the maximum award amount HUD released, and the foundation was the only recipient in Minnesota. Leaders say the funding will be focused on systems-level change to support Indigenous youth experiencing housing instability and homelessness.

"We know that we need to build a system of homeless response that advances racial justice with tribal sovereignty at the center," said Margaret Treuer, a foundation program officer, in a news release.

It's part of HUD's first-ever Youth Homelessness System Improvement grants.

Marion McFadden, HUD principal deputy assistant secretary for community planning and development, said 38 communities received grants across 26 states, Puerto Rico and Guam.

"We know that preventing and ending youth homelessness takes a full community effort that requires support from all of our partners," said HUD Acting Secretary Adrianne Todman in a news release.

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation's work to deliver housing and services to reduce the rate of homelessness among Indigenous youth involves partnerships with Minnesota Tribal Collaborative to Prevent and End Homelessness, Northeast Minnesota Continuum of Care and Northwest Minnesota Continuum of Care.

Those organizations will receive grants from the foundation's $2 million.

Foundation President Karen White said the organization is "committed to working alongside our partners toward our shared goal of ending homelessness in our region."

"Housing is a fundamental human right and we are proud to partner with the region to make sure that safe and secure housing is available to all our neighbors," she said.

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation is one of six Minnesota Initiative Foundations established in 1986 for rural philanthropy through the McKnight Foundation.