MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In March, Wilder Research said homelessness in Minnesota reached a record high number, with more than 10,000 people living in shelters, encampments or on the streets in 2018. Their 2018 Minnesota Homeless Study released another analysis Wednesday from face-to-face interviews with those facing homelessness.
Wilder, a nonprofit group that tracks state homelessness, completed over 4 thousand interviews in 2018. They found the most common reasons adults left their last housing were evictions, unaffordable housing, job losses and having work hours reduced. The research group said 27 percent of homeless adults spent more than a week in the past month living outside, compared to 18 percent in 2015.
(credit: Wilder Research)
Over a third were turned away from a shelter in the last three months, citing lack of space, Wilder said. Half of those interviewed were on a subsidized housing waiting list and had been waiting for 12 months on average.
“Shelter, affordable housing and services are needed to address the needs of the homeless population,” said Michelle Decker Gerrard, Wilder Research senior manager and study co-director.
Wilder says health conditions have increased within the homeless population since 2000. Over half of homeless adults surveyed have a physical health condition, and 64 percent of adults and children have a serious mental illness.
Wilder also noted the majority of both homeless adults and children had at least one traumatic experience as children, including abuse, neglect, and living with someone who abused substances.
“Our surveys of people experiencing homelessness show how complex the needs are across Minnesota, and solutions should not be one size fits all,” Decker Gerrard said.
The group also found African Americans, American Indians, and LGBTQ youth were overrepresented in the homeless population.
In their last report, Wilder noted the number of families experiencing homelessness decreased by five percent from 2015, and youth homelessness remained steady.
Wilder says they will publish specialized reports this year about Minnesota’s Native American tribes, older adults, youth and Veterans.