News & Events

The Apartments with a Goal: Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness

Delancey Apartments

Before moving to Delancey Apartments, Quenton describes life as “real hectic.” First, his wife left him. Then, unable to pay over $1,000 a month in rent, he lost the house they shared, too. He went to the Salvation Army, and eventually found himself sleeping behind a dumpster at a fast food chain.  

A case manager told him about Delancey Apartments after he suffered a heart attack.

A 13-unit building in St. Paul, Delancey Apartments looks much like any other apartment complex. There’s a community room, a bank of mailboxes, a bulletin board with flyers, and hallways lined with apartments. Various sounds and smells waft out – a reminder of the lives lived behind each door. The mix of tenants, including a family with young kids, come and go, sometimes exchanging a brief hello greeting. It’s a community. For the people who live there, it’s home.

Community Room

To get in Delancey Apartments, a staff member – monitoring traffic via a camera by the front door – has to buzz you in. Visitors are required to show an ID. Around-the-clock staff do daily rounds of the hallways, providing support and safety for tenants. A St. Paul Police Officer does rounds once a week. “There is a comfort level that guests need to be checked in, so I can sleep good at night not having to worry about someone breaking into my apartment,” Quenton says.

Tenants arrive at the Apartments with unique stories, often sharing similar elements — histories of abuse, legal problems, mental health symptoms, substance use, medical issues, sometimes traumatic brain injuries, and other disabilities. It’s nearly impossible to be homeless without being arrested for things like loitering and trespassing, so criminal histories are also common.

“Folks that have histories of legal issues tend to be high utilizers of the legal system and those are the people that tend to get screened out of housing options,” says Julie Grothe, Service Director, Integrated Services. “We’re screening people into housing instead of screening them out. We try to work with people that have these histories because – after being homeless – they need help adjusting to living inside. Having 24/7 staffing really helps.”

If a tenant needs support or assistance, a staff member, including two Peer Support Recovery Specialists – who bring personal, lived experience to the job – is there to help. “When I’m down and out, they listen, and give positive feedback,” Quenton remarks. Staff members also help tenants learn or re-learn skills easily forgotten after a long period of homelessness – how to be a good neighbor, how to clean, and how to get groceries. “They get housing support to maintain stability,” says Vicenta Valero, Program Manager for Housing Support Services. “They can connect with a case manager, if needed, and if they have a case manager, they can get employment services as well.”   

“What we hear from police and community members is that we have improved the neighborhood – not just our little corner,” Valero continues. “The police officer who does rounds at the Apartment tells us that behavior from some tenants that used to be a concern in the community has changed. When you give people a space, meet their basic needs, and provide services, people can make changes in their lives.”

Main Hallway

Delancey Apartments is succeeding at the goal – keep people off of the street — established in 2009 when a number of partners joined together to figure out how to get housing for the 20% of people who were still experiencing chronic homelessness. All of the current tenants have maintained their apartments for at least 1 year; one person has lived there for 8 years. “For some, Delancey Apartments is the last stop,” Valero explains. “For others, it’s a temporary stop on their way to a more independent living situation.” 

Quenton’s been living in his apartment, which he refers to as his “sanctuary”, for a year and 5 months. The things he likes best about living at Delancey Apartments: Movie Night, Barbequing, and having a key to his own door. With help from staff, he also got a job.

“Homelessness is a problem that feels too big to tackle for most of us,” Valero says. So, a lot of times, individuals in homelessness become invisible as we feel overwhelmed.” 

“We put all of these rules and restrictions on housing,” Julie says. If we can’t help people access housing, they’ll find it on the light rail or on busses. People have to sleep somewhere. The longer someone is homeless, the harder it gets.”

6.20.19

You Did It: Bash4Guild Reaches Greatest Success Yet!

Dress in your finest and smash something? Yep. That’s exactly what we did at last month’s 6th annual Bash4Guild. Okay, okay, it was stigma that got smashed. On top of that, you helped us raise a record-breaking $90,000 for our Equilibrium (EQ) Youth ACT Services! Thank you.

Terra Sura Photography

Over 200 guests – both long-time and new supporters alike – gathered at International Market Square with one thing in mind: to party for a purpose. Originally founded as an event for young professionals, this year’s event committee focused on creating a mission-focused party with broad appeal.  

Terra Sura Photography

Bash4Guild guests mingled, donned props for the photo booth, struck a pose in front of the step-and-repeat, danced to live music, gave our signature cocktail, Tito’s Bash Mojito a try, cast their bids on silent auction items, dined on a variety of appetizers, and played architect-designed games, including crowd favorite: ring toss for wine.

iCandy Photobooth

Our Executive Director | CEO, Julie Bluhm, talked about the impact of EQ Services on young people with mental illness trying to make their way to adulthood and the program’s critical need for support. We are grateful to Nick, a young man receiving EQ services, for sharing his inspiring story with the crowd.

Terra Sura Photography

Our thanks to the Otto Bremer Foundation for providing $25,000 in matching dollars for our first-ever fund-a-need auction. Because of you, we received the full match!  

We remain grateful to event founders and co-hosts, Nik Larsen and Matt Bollero, for their original vision and for their continued involvement in the event.

Mark your calendar: next year’s 7th annual Bash4Guild will come your way Saturday, April 25th!

Terra Sura Photography

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to:

Presenting Sponsor: Riverbridge

Platinum Sponsor: Otogawa-Anschel Design + Build

Gold Sponsors: Ascend Financial Group, The Stable, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Dan and Kari Rominski, and The Bollero Family

Silver Sponsors: Mayo Clinic, Schromen Law LLC, Hiway Federal Credit Union, Warners’ Stellian, Kurt Johnson Auctioneering Inc., Alerus Mortgage, Todd Braufman of Latitude Real Estate Advisors, and Dr. & Mrs. Michael Paparella

Co-founders and hosts: Nik Larsen and Matt Bollero

Volunteers: Mick Anderson, Laura Beilke, Gavin Bollinger-Brown, Bridget Davis, Pete Discenza, Sara Discenza, Pam Flenniken, Mark Prinsen, Jeff Roatch, Carrie Sandgren, John Sandgren, Duane Steen, Matt Steinback, Shanna Steinback.

Volunteer step-and-repeat photographer: Drew Paul, Honeybear Agency.

Bash4Guild committee members: Rachel Schromen, Brad Reiser, Cara Kootz, Kyler Harder, Nick Cupery, Anthony Theisen, and Sam Flood

Event photos: Terra Sura Photography.

Progress Continues on New IRTS/Crisis Facility

We’re excited to report that, earlier this month, the Savage City Council met and unanimously approved preliminary development and design plans for the new Mental Health Crisis Stabilization and Intensive Residential Treatment Services (IRTS) Center.

We are grateful for the unanimous support of the city council and we look forward to continuing to develop relationships with our new community.

We’ll bring you more as this project progresses. Meanwhile, the Star Tribune and Southwest News Media have been covering the project.

Read the latest:

 

 

 

April 26, 2019

Beating Homelessness and Building Communities

 

Looking for a fun night out AND a great way to support young people living with mental illness? Please join us on Saturday, April 20th for our 6th annual Bash4Guild!

We’ll have something for everyone: appetizers, a signature cocktail, architect-designed games, including ring toss for bottles of wine, live music and dancing, a silent auction, and more! Best of all — funds from Bash4Guild will support Equilibrium (EQ), Guild’s Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Services for Youth.

Customized for ages 16-20, EQ helps youth with mental illnesses transition successfully into adulthood.

Bash4Guild was created by Guild Incorporated Board of Directors’ member Nik Larsen, and friend and fellow supporter, Matt Bollero. Bash4Guild increases awareness, smashes stigma, and raises funds for EQ.

When: Saturday, April 20th

Time: 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Where: International Market Square – 275 Market Street Minneapolis, MN 55405

Tickets: Get Yours Today 

Beating Homelessness and Building Communities

“My team of angels.” That’s how one person served by our Housing Access Resource Team (HART) describes staff that helped him finally get housing and leave behind a camper he called home.

Angela Kroyer-Hennen leads the team. She remembers another client who was homeless, but said that working with the team gave her more hope than when she had a place to live, but no support. It might seem like an unusual sentiment, but for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, a support system is critical.

Two Housing Support teams at Guild provide support to people experiencing serious mental illness and homelessness. Project for Assistance Transitioning from Homelessness (PATH) Outreach connects people with services like mental and physical health and to Coordinated Entry, the community-based system that helps people access housing services. The one-person team also serves as a community resource, collaborating with libraries, police departments, and others who encounter people seeking shelter.

Originally started as a pilot project, the Housing Access Resource Team (HART) helps people find and maintain housing. Members of the team work to develop relationships with landlords and connect clients to them.

“We tell people that we can’t guarantee housing, but we’ll try our best,” Angela says of the HART team. “They have to meet us halfway. They have to want it more than we do.” The team helps their clients do everything it takes to secure a place of their own, including helping with applications, associated fees, furniture and other household items. Once an individual has a place to live, the team continues to work with them to maintain their home through support and skill-building. Those who don’t need help for more than three months are discharged from services with a promise that – if they hit a rough patch — they can come back. Most don’t need to.

The approach is working. Eighty-two percent of individuals served by HART received or maintained stable housing in 2017. 

Angela attributes the success, in large part, to the team’s work with landlords. “We’re available to landlords,” she says. “We’ll come in and help them see if a person is eligible for services; we’ll help navigate situations with tenants; and we’ll help if there’s a crisis.”

The landlord of a large complex in West St. Paul recently commented that Guild was a necessity for the city and rental community, calling PATH Outreach Services “crucial in assisting our homeless population in Dakota County.”

Despite ongoing challenges of stigma and a significant lack of affordable housing – most rents are $100 dollars more than people have to spend – Angela sees progress in the community’s overall response to homelessness.

“We see how housing along with services is helping individuals, she explains. “We see growth in the communities we’re working in. We see how the police are working with landlords and we’re being brought into those conversations. More people are willing to say, ‘yes, this is happening in my city.’ There’s more openness to talking about mental illness and homelessness.”

 

You Can Help:

Know a landlord or property manager in Dakota or Ramsey County who might be interested in working with our housing support teams and the people they serve?

Contact: Angela Kroyer Hennen, Team Leader, HART

 

More About Guild’s Housing Access Resource Team (HART) and Project for Assistance Transitioning from Homelessness (PATH) Outreach : 

Provides:

  • HART helps people experiencing long-term homelessness, at imminent risk of homelessness, and those exiting institutions find and maintain housing.
  • PATH Outreach offers outreach services to individuals experiencing homelessness.
  • Dakota County Housing and Stability Services provides housing search and stability services.

Counties served:

  • HART: Dakota and Ramsey Counties
  • PATH: Dakota County
  • Dakota HSS: Dakota County

Accepts referrals from: 

  • HART: Anyone can refer individuals for service, including self-referrals, case managers, Intensive Residential Treatment, and Crisis Services.
  • PATH Outreach: Anyone can refer individuals for service, including self-referrals, police departments, shelters, landlords, and concerned citizens.   
  • Dakota HSS: Suburban Metro Area Continuum of Care (SMAC) Coordinated Entry System, and Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) for individuals with Family Reunification Program (FUP) Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) or other subsidies

Payment for services:

  • HART:  Minnesota Housing Supports for Adults with Mental Illness (HASASMI) grant
  • PATH: SAMHSA’s Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) funds
  • Dakota HSS: Hearth Connection grant

 

 

March 22, 2019

You Can Help:

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