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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Economy takes a toll, leaving more Minnesotans homeless

Topic requested...Please click onto the COMMENTS for the story.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Pioneer Press said...

By John Brewer
jbrewer@pioneerpress.com
Updated: 03/30/2010 11:45:35 PM CDT

The family's recent stint in shelters puts them in the middle of a growing — and unwanted — trend in Minnesota: Homelessness is on the rise, sped along by the recession and mortgage crisis.

While overall homeless numbers have grown 22 percent between 2006 and 2009, according to research from the Wilder Foundation, the number of homeless families has grown by 27 percent.

Woods, 27, his girlfriend and two young children lost their one-bedroom apartment in St. Paul in late February when the building was condemned and have since moved between relatives' homes, churches and emergency shelters. They've recently landed a 30-day stay in the Ramsey County Family Service Center in Maplewood but realize there's a chance they'll end up back on the move.

"It's basically like living out of bags and keeping everything packed up, because you never know if you're going to be moved or find a new home," said Woods, who works as a part-time personal care attendant. His girlfriend, Nikita Smith, 20, is unable to work because of mental health issues.

The St. Paul-based Wilder Foundation, which conducts the statewide, one-day survey every three years, is releasing the latest homelessness numbers today. Further analysis will be released in April and May.

The results are troubling but not surprising, local aid organizations said.

The survey found 9,452 homeless adults, youth and children in shelters and on the streets

Oct. 22 — a 22 percent increase since 2006, when the survey counted 7,751 homeless people.
"This recession has just knocked people on their heels," said Greg Owen, project director for the Wilder survey.

Owen said 39 percent of the adults in the survey said they left stable housing because of eviction, foreclosure or lease termination — up 7 percent from 2006. Forty percent of adults surveyed said a lost job or reduction in hours put them on the street, compared with 31 percent in 2006.

And while the jump in the number of homeless was larger between the 1997 and 2000 studies — 36 percent — Owen said the most recent rise is just an early snapshot of homelessness in an economic downturn that will likely be longer and deeper than any others of the past 20 years.

Still, he said, "this (survey) could have been much worse."

He credited intense efforts to end homelessness with curtailing the numbers.

The state Legislature started one effort, called Heading Home Minnesota, in 2004. The coalition of public and private groups set a goal of ending homelessness in the state by 2010.

Nearly every county designated a Heading Home Minnesota coordinator to spearhead programs to end homelessness in their communities, and plans were in place to build 4,000 units of housing across the state.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous story continued said...

Then the economy got in the way, said Shawna Nelsen, spokeswoman for the Family Housing Fund, a partner in the Heading Home initiative.

"People were really feeling really strong about the campaign, and still are," said Nelsen, "but then, all of a sudden when the economy goes, the jobs go, so a lot of those programs are affected."

To date, Heading Home Minnesota has financed 2,054 units. Ending homelessness is still the ultimate goal, Nelsen said. It might just take longer now.

Agencies that deal with the homeless on a day-to-day basis are feeling the pinch, too.

"Our services across the board are unprecedented," said Becky Lentz, a spokeswoman with Catholic Charities.

Food-shelf use was up 70 percent between November and December 2009, she said, and demand for beds at Catholic Charities' shelters in St. Paul and Minneapolis rose 40 percent.

Funding, including federal stimulus aid, runs out faster than ever before, Lentz said, which she takes as a sign of increased needs of the homeless.

She said a board member for the Dorothy Day Center — a downtown St. Paul center for the homeless run by Catholic Charities — described the situation most accurately during a meeting to discuss the crisis last year.

" 'We face waters uncharted,' " Lentz recalled the member saying. "We have never seen anything like this before.


"We hope we never see this again."

So does Woods — for his family.

"Hearing about this is one thing," he said, "but I'm around it every day."

Since losing their apartment, Woods has seen a lot of single mothers in the shelters, he said, and promised his family that he would never be absent.

"It's depressing being homeless, but it's a lot better with two parents," he said.

John Brewer can be reached at 651-228-2093.

THE NUMBERS

The number of homeless Minnesotans grew 22 percent from 2006 to 2009, according to the Wilder Foundation. Other findings:


68 percent of homeless people surveyed were in the metro area.

African-Americans represent about 41 percent of the homeless statewide, but make up only 4 percent of the overall adult population in Minnesota.

American Indians represent about 11 percent of the homeless surveyed but just 1 percent of the overall adult population of Minnesota.

Overall, people of color represent 62 percent of Minnesota's adult homeless population, but make up only 13 percent of the overall adult population in the state.

44 percent of homeless adults were on a waiting list for public housing (up from 34 percent in 2006).

74 percent of homeless youth (ages 21 and younger) have been homeless before. On average, youth first experienced homelessness at age 15.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

From the article;
Woods, 27, his girlfriend and two young children lost their one-bedroom apartment in St. Paul in late February when the building was condemned and have since moved between relatives' homes, churches and emergency shelters.

My response;
What is wrong with allowing a home owner to repair a house while the family is still in it? If these homes are a safety concern for those living in them how is condemnation to the street a viable solution to a families safety?

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If these homes are a safety concern for those living in them how is condemnation to the street a viable solution to a families safety?

Its not a viable solution.

If its unsafe for habitation, then they shouldn't be in the place until its fixed. It should be considered a business breech on the part of the landlord.

The landlord should be fined and that money used to house the family until repairs are made.


Eric

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just more communist Bull Shit from the DFL stooges. I got news for ya Eric......go push your Obamma redistribution shit somewhere else. No one here is interested in sharing. The tenants rip the hell out of the place and then get the city to go along with them on violations so they can get free rent. I think you should pay for the repairs to the landlords property.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric said at 11:31 AM
If its unsafe for habitation, then they shouldn't be in the place until its fixed. It should be considered a business breech on the part of the landlord.
The landlord should be fined and that money used to house the family until repairs are made.

Right on Eric, with that statement if a home or large residents has poisonous gas vapors in it, that is construed as what is safe in your eyes, or would this be a health and safety issue that code enforcement should step in and condemn it.

Eric said
The landlord should be fined and that money used to house the family until repairs are made.

Do you really feel that way?

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just flaten St.Paul and start over,and then we can put the illegals to work.
They will still drew welfare!

4:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just flaten St.Paul and start over,and then we can put the illegals to work.
They will still drew welfare!

4:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just more communist Bull Shit from the DFL stooges. I got news for ya Eric......go push your Obamma redistribution shit somewhere else. No one here is interested in sharing. The tenants rip the hell out of the place and then get the city to go along with them on violations so they can get free rent. I think you should pay for the repairs to the landlords property.

Sharing? What are you talking about-do you even know?

I'm talking about landlords who take government checks on behalf of housing the poor, or take them one of the working poor and house them in below standard living conditions. They need to pay- especially if they took one dime for rent.

Your views on tenants are exactly why this whole suit is bullshit and this fight is a farce. I wonder how can so much cowardly anger also speak about looking out for the tenants?

You can't.

'drew welfare'?
You mean draw welfare- and illegal immigrants cannot apply for or receive welfare. Learn to write English and learn how the government works.


Eric

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and...as far as Obama goes, he passed a bill that was 80% full of Republican amendments. He allowed the expansion of gun rights without challenging them and opened offshore drilling along the American coast.

A socialist-redistributionist-facist-communist would taken your guns, nationalized the oil companies and taken over the health care system with one government ran entity.

Cowardly and stupid is no way to go through son.


Eric

11:42 AM  

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