MN homeless population on the rise

A new report released by Wilder Research has found that Minnesota’s homeless population is on the rise.

Wilder, with the assistance of non- profit agencies, conducted a point in time count and determined that more than 10,200 people are experiencing homelessness in Minnesota. That’s a 10 percent increase over 2015 (9,312 people) and the highest count since Wilder first began its triennial study in 1991 (3,079 people).

About two-thirds of the state’s homeless population is found in the Twin Cities metro area, and the remaining third in Greater Minnesota.

Thankfully, 55 families experiencing homelessness are receiving help from Village of Hope every single day, thanks to your donations and volunteer hours.

Other key findings from the Wilder report include:

  • Nearly half of people experiencing homelessness are youth ages 24 and younger.
  • Just over 25 percent of the homeless population(2,694 people) are not sleeping in shelters – they are sleeping outside or doubled up (staying with friends or family). That’s a 62 percent increase over 2015. Village of Hope continues to turn away children and their families and in 2018 turned away 317 individuals. This tells us that at least 25% of our homeless families are not able to find shelter.
  • While adults ages 55 and older make up the smallest age group of those experiencing homelessness (1,054 people), they saw the biggest increase in homelessness – up 25 percent since 2015.

The Wilder report represents homeless individuals contacted in emergency shelters, women’s shelters and transitional housing, as well as those found through outreach efforts at encampments, hot meal programs, and elsewhere. Wilder notes that the count underrepresents the total homeless population, since many people outside the traditional shelter system cannot be found.

I asked our families what they wish they could tell the world, and this is what they said.

“I am not a bad person- I just have had bad things happen.”

“I’m working so hard and nothing is happening.”

“I just need someone to care.”

“When you believed in me, I started to believe in myself!”

“I don’t know what I’d do without the Village of Hope.”

“I am not a homeless person, I am a person who happens to be homeless.”

“I’m working so my kids will have a better life than I did.”

These are just a few of the conversations we have at Village of Hope. When you sit across the table from a family or hold a sweet child in your lap, or become the first home that a brand new baby will know, their situation becomes very real.

Village of Hope is more than a place for a family to lay their heads or grab a meal. It is a place to plan for the future. The case management and collaboration we have with other mainstream organizations makes the difference between success and failure.  Emergency shelters are often the first line of defense for a homeless family but unfortunately, we are sorely underfunded and we don’t have enough emergency shelter beds for the need. Just like families experiencing homelessness we are used to making do and doing without.

Together we will make a difference in the lives of homeless children and their families.