Heading Home: Minnesota’s Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

The Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness—composed of the commissioners from eleven state agencies and the Governor’s office— released a new two-year statewide plan to prevent and end homelessness for all Minnesotans in December 2013.

The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless worked with members across the state to help develop Heading Home: Minnesota’s Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness (Read the Executive Summary or Full Plan). Liz Kuoppala, Executive Director of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless stated:

“The level of collaboration, and focus on prevention, is unprecedented. The vision exceeded our expectations. Homeless Minnesotans are touched by many public systems including schools, health care, foster care, corrections, and employment centers. The plan weaves these systems together, to prevent homelessness before it happens. People who have met Cathy ten Broeke, the person behind the state’s effort, know she does not force change–she inspires it. She brings people together to get work done. State agencies have our full support moving forward.”

The Vision

The long-term vision of the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness is Housing Stability for All Minnesotans. The Interagency Council is contributing to this overarching result by focusing on solving the most egregious form of housing instability – homelessness. The role of the Council is to lead the state in efforts to prevent and end homelessness for all Minnesotans.

What does it mean to prevent and end homelessness?

Preventing Homelessness means that families and individuals are helped to reduce their likelihood of becoming homeless and avoid crises that, without intervention, would precipitate a loss of housing.

Ending Homelessness means that if a family or individual does become homeless, we will have a crisis response system to assess their needs and quickly provide them the opportunity to access stable housing. It does not mean that no one will experience homelessness ever again.

Why does it matter to prevent and end homelessness?

Preventing and ending homelessness matters to Minnesota’s future. Children and youth need stable homes to succeed in school, to develop relationships with peers and community, and eventually to contribute to society as adults. Families and single adults, including Veterans, need stable homes to secure and maintain health and employment.

The Outcomes We Seek for Minnesotans

Our long-term objective is to prevent and end homelessness for all Minnesotans. We intend to decrease each year the number of all people experiencing homelessness. Toward this objective, The Interagency Council on Homelessness is prioritizing these measurable outcomes:

• Prevent and End Homelessness for Families with Children and Unaccompanied Youth by 2020

We will make preventing and ending family and child homelessness a priority focus area. While we have made progress in other populations, family and child homelessness continues to rise in our state (Wilder, 2012). We must reverse this trend now – for the future of our children and our state.

• Finish the Job of Ending Homelessness for Veterans and for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness by 2015

We have already made significant progress on ending homelessness for Veterans and people with disabilities and, with the Federal government’s continued investment on behalf of these populations, we could be the first state in the country to essentially “end” Veteran and chronic homelessness.