Hennepin County Sees Success in Addressing Homelessness

• “This year Hennepin County…tallied the fewest number of people experiencing homelessness since the federal survey began 17 years ago, according to the county’s recently released annual national homeless census.

• Since 2005, the number of homeless people in the county…has remained stubbornly above 3,000, peaking at 3,731 in 2014. But this year’s count, taken Jan. 26, showed a count of 2,678 homeless people

• From Jan. 1 to June 6, Hennepin County helped 860 homeless people move into permanent housing”

These were just some of the milestones featured in a recent Star Tribune article highlighting Hennepin County’s efforts to support people experiencing homelessness. The article also detailed lessons learned during the pandemic that will fuel the County’s momentum in addressing homelessness, including strengthening its individualized housing-first approach and converting hotels to housing which—as David Hewitt, director of Hennepin County’s Office to End Homelessness, notes—will provide people with a “dignified place to call their own at an affordable price.” Catholic Charities teams have been proud to collaborate with Hennepin County during the pandemic, supporting individuals like Douglas Pyle whose journey from our Higher Ground Minneapolis shelter to a hotel was featured in a May 2020 Star Tribune story; nearly a year later, a follow-up article described the collaboration among partners that helped Douglas ultimately find a place to call home.

Catholic Charities’ collaboration with Hennepin County extends back decades. In Minneapolis, we currently operate shelters for single adults and youth experiencing homelessness; an opportunity center that serves as an integrated, one-stop location connecting people to critical services to improve their health and wellbeing; and deeply affordable permanent housing across the city. Our teams provide services within housing-first, harm-reduction, person-centered, and trauma-informed frameworks—meeting people where they are on their own individual journey and offering them the unique support they need to move forward in life.

As communities across the country have found out, homelessness is a challenge that requires a community-wide response, and we are committed to working alongside partners towards solutions that work. We believe that more deeply affordable housing is the answer to homelessness; to that end, we currently provide more than 1,000 deeply affordable permanent housing units in the Twin Cities, serving anyone who comes to us for support regardless of faith, background or circumstance. Likewise, we advocate at the Capitol and in the community to advance policies that support the most vulnerable among us. Learn more about how you can take action.

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