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 :
- 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.
- 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