Community Dividend

Plan to end long-term homelessness in Minnesota released

Published August 1, 2004  |  August 2004 issue

A status report from an interagency working group in Minnesota includes a plan to end long-term homelessness in the state by the end of 2010.

The Working Group on Long-Term Homelessness (Working Group) convened in 2003, when the Minnesota legislature, at the request of Governor Tim Pawlenty, directed the state commissioners of human services, corrections, and housing finance to address the issue of long-term homelessness in Minnesota. Representatives of 30 county and municipal development authorities, foundations, human services organizations and charitable groups are participating in the effort.

The Working Group defines long-term homelessness as “lacking a permanent place to live continuously for a year or more or at least four times in the last three years.” According to a 2003 survey by the research arm of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, approximately 3,300 Minnesotans experience long-term homelessness in the course of a year. They make up a subset of the estimated 20,300 people in the state who are homeless or at imminent risk of losing housing.

The status report, released in March, outlines a proposed $540 million plan for providing housing and support services to 4,000 long-term homeless families and individuals. The plan would allocate $180 million for supportive housing, community services and income supplements, with lesser amounts for rental and operating assistance, new construction, housing acquisition and rehabilitation, and other uses. An estimated $88 million a year would be required to cover ongoing costs after implementation. Funding would come from a variety of state, federal, local and philanthropic sources.

To keep expenses in check, the plan urges the pursuit of cost-effective strategies, such as using innovative designs and alternative materials in new construction, maximizing the use of the private rental market as a housing source and scrutinizing support services to focus on those that relate directly to long-term housing success.

To access the full report and related information, visit www.mhfa.state.mn.us.

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