On 4/15/2013 The Network for Better Futures changed its name to Better Futures Minnesota
Dates of Project/Program: December 2007 to February 2014
Field of Work: Integrating vulnerable men into the community
Problem Synopsis: Men served by Better Futures Minnesota, a project of Better Futures Enterprises in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) are typically isolated, living on the fringes of society, and cycling through costly and fragmented public services and institutions, including emergency rooms, detox centers, substance abuse treatment programs, and jails and prisons. They are also men who need support to realize their own value and take steps to turn their lives around. Attempts to reduce spending on this population have mostly failed because service systems are fragmented and inefficient.
Synopsis of the Work: Better Futures Minnesota is designed to transform the lives of at risk, primarily African-American men. Working with eight nonprofit partners in the Twin Cities, the model offers an integrated package of services that includes safe and affordable housing, job training and work opportunities, access to primary care and behavioral health services, and community-building. The organization also has a business venture that provides work opportunities for participants while generating revenue for the organization.
The "we're-there-for-you" approach targets previously incarcerated men who are willing to make the commitment to turn their lives around. For Sam, who was incarcerated at 18 and released at 21, the tools and support have helped him to grow up. "Before I came in prison I was a little boy. Now I'm working through Better Futures, I feel like I'm becoming a man."