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Beacon Housing Update


In a continuing effort to keep the congregation informed on affordable housing issues, your Beacon Housing Committee would like to share an article about emergency shelters in Minnesota. The following excerpt is part 1/3 from an article in the Star Tribune by Susan Du.

 

Single adults turned away from Hennepin emergency homeless shelters 4,000 times in 2023 (Part 1)

 

Hennepin County's emergency shelter system didn't have enough space last year for everyone who needed it. More than 4,000 times in 2023, a person called the shelter hotline to reserve a bed for the night only to be told everything was booked, or that they weren't eligible to stay in a shelter because they had previously violated the rules.

Still, shelter beds were used more than 167,700 times during the same period. And homeless single adults were turned away far fewer times last year than in 2022, when there were 7,000 turn-aways.

 

"It's positive to see it trending in a direction that the system is better able to meet people's needs in real time," said David Hewitt, director of housing stability for

 

Hennepin County. "The last few years have been pretty tumultuous years economically and socially, and that creates its own variation in terms of how many people are falling into housing crisis at any given time."


Hewitt credits the county's investments in case managers, who help people surmount complex barriers to obtaining housing on their own, for the decline in turn-aways. From 2021 to 2023, Hennepin saw a 57% increase in the number of people leaving homelessness and finding permanent housing, he said. By the end of 2023, the number of people that the county had identified as chronically homeless — not having a home for at least a year and having a disability — dipped below 300 for the first time since the county started tracking the population in 2017.


Moving people who had been living in emergency shelter for years into housing has freed up beds for the short-term stays that shelters were designed for, Hewitt said. A new diversion hotline run by Catholic Charities Twin Cities has also helped prevent shelters from overflowing.


Learn what Beacon Interfaith Housing is doing about the housing crisis at beaconinterfaith.org.


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