Over less than a year, Hennepin County’s Homeless to Housing team has helped more than 300 people transition from homelessness into permanent housing.
This new approach, implemented last winter, provides tailored, housing-focused case management to people experiencing homelessness, taking into account each person’s individual barriers and preferences to finding housing, including physical and behavioral health issues.
“The reason this model is different and works is because our staff have access to resources, flexible funding and detailed how-to guides for any situation they may encounter,” said Danielle Werder, area manager of the Office to End Homelessness. “Our staff don’t need to know everything about housing. They need to know what their client needs and wants, and then they can tap into those resources to help them meet their housing goals.”
Case workers serve people in shelter and unsheltered settings.
A COVID Emergency Model
Hennepin County’s Housing Stability service area launched Housing to Homelessness after its Hotels to Housing program successfully connected nearly all of the of elderly and chronically ill residents sheltered in isolation hotels during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hope was that the model of intensive 1-to-1, data-driven support would also work to house other people experiencing homelessness. It has. Over the year, 97% of the people connected to housing are still housed.
“Housing is foundational to well-being,” said County Board Chair Marion Greene. “We have learned that making the process personal, offering resources and matching people to individualized housing options helps residents achieve the dignity of stable housing, and makes that housing sustainable.”