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Mpls: Street Homelessness Down 40 Percent

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Despite the lingering recession and the devastation brought to Minneapolis by last summer’s tornado, the city says that a group effort between it, Hennepin County and many community partners has curbed street homelessness by 40 percent and veteran homelessness by 33 percent since 2010.

The success in the city’s struggle against homelessness comes as a result of the work of Heading Home Hennepin, a joint city and county program that seeks to end homelessness in Minneapolis by 2016. The program works with dozens of the local partner organizations, and Heading Home Hennepin hopes to bring together some 120 partners in its fight against homelessness.

The number of people counted homeless in January 2012 was 204, which is down from 300 in 2011 and 341 in 2010, the city said.

On Wednesday, Heading Home Hennepin showed the city’s Committee of the Whole a presentation of its progress over the last five years.

Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman said the presentation was a great five-year report card.

“Where we’ve focused our efforts and resources, we’ve seen real results,” she said. “But we still have a long ways to go considering half the people who are homeless in our community are children. With strong political will and community support, I believe we can and will reach our goal of ending homelessness in Minneapolis and Hennepin County.”

The city says Heading Home Hennepin’s success stems from its focus on preventing homelessness. According to the city, the program, with the help of federal funds, coordinated $6.5 million to help young mothers in crisis, refugee families, renters in foreclosing properties, and young people facing homelessness in public schools.

The program also provided assistance to more than 3,000 households between 2009-2011, raised more than $200,000 in private funds to get rental subsidies to households affected by the North Minneapolis tornado, provided workhouse and prison discharge planning, improved foster care support, and remodeled recuperative care models to reduce costly hospital stays.

City Council Member John Quincy, who is also a board member of Heading Home Hennepin, said the reductions in street and veteran homelessness are a direct result of organizations coming together and working toward a focused goal.

“The Heading Home Hennepin initiative has prevented and ended homelessness for thousands of people in Minneapolis and throughout Hennepin County,” he said.

For more information about homelessness in Minneapolis check out Heading Home Hennepin’s website.

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