2015 Highlights

An annual report to the Hennepin County community

Caring for our community

When people are at their most vulnerable, Hennepin County's resources and guidance help them get their lives on track, and create safeguards to prevent them from harming themselves or others.

COPE/Child Crisis

Going the extra mile for people in crisis

graph showing the increase in contact with people in crisis - 653% increase in calls and a 713% increase in visits from 2007-2014

Mobile teams of mental health professionals take calls from people in crisis, and concerned family, friends and neighbors. Crisis teams can go on-site 24/7 to help stabilize the situation and connect people to assistance. Staff also help clients in the aftermath of a crisis, to support their health and prevent future crises. The COPE and Child Crisis teams bring calm in 13 languages and many cultures.

Justice Behavioral Health Initiative

Reducing recidivism by addressing health, social service needs


Referrals to community-based services, such as housing, mental and chemical health programs and public assistance


Inmates enrolled in health care

A team of social workers, chemical health counselors, housing specialists, community health workers, Sheriff’s Office staff and Hennepin County jail medical staff identifies people whose significant mental health care needs put them at high risk to return to jail. A triage process measures public safety risk and clinical need for those who have significant mental illness, and matches people with service options. After release, a social worker stays in contact to help them connect with community services.

Protecting children

Hennepin County is charged with protecting our most vulnerable residents, our children. Sometimes that means removing them from dangerous situations or working to ensure their homes and neighborhoods are safe and nurturing. Sometimes it is giving them the tools to make the best decisions for a healthy future.

Child protection

More resources to keep kids safe, stabilize families


Child protection reports, increased from 15,516 in 2014


Child protection reports forwarded for investigation, increased from 5,116 in 2014

Hennepin County is making major changes to how we protect children in the Child Protection Service area, Juvenile Courts, the County Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, and Guardians ad Litem.

In 2015, the board committed to adding 98 child protection social workers and supervisors, using nearly $2.5 million in county and new state aid funding; the County Attorney’s Office also added five staff members to help guide cases through the court system, at the cost of about $250,000.

The county is acting on a series of recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Casey Family Programs. A 12-member task force – including two county commissioners, community members, child protection professionals and others – is supervising the process.

Learn how to make a report to child protective services.

Better Together Hennepin

The future starts today: Teen pregnancy prevention

chart showing the 52 percent decrease in teen birth rate in Hennepin County from 2007-2014
52 percent

Decrease in the teen birth rate in Hennepin County, 2007-2014

Teens are learning that postponing parenthood until they are adults helps create a better life for themselves and their children. A geographically targeted, multilayered educational and clinical approach has brought big dividends for teens in Hennepin County.

Fostering self-reliance

Hennepin County has had success in creating and administering initiatives that work to free people from reliance on public programs. These programs empower people to gain employment, stabilize their housing and make bigger plans for their lives.

Workforce development

Changing hiring practices to position a workforce for the future


Percent of current county employees will be eligible for retirement in 2020


People currently enrolled in workforce development training programs and hiring initiatives in 2014 and 2015


Participants in workforce development internships and other student programs in 2014 and 2015

The county and its partners have created programs to remove barriers to employment and guide people into training, work experience and professional support, tailored to help them qualify for county jobs and other employment opportunities. Hiring initiatives also include veterans and people with disabilities.

Office to End Homelessness

Fewer families using emergency shelter

24 percent

Percent reduction in family shelter use

67 percent

Percent increase in monthly income among participants in the stable families initiative

Intensive interventions with repeat users of emergency shelter, who are in danger of losing their housing again, can help them maintain stability and work toward better long-term solutions.

Hennepin County Library

Partnering with patrons to spark learning and discovery

Library liaisons with ties to the East African community connect Cedar Riverside residents to technology, cultural activities and resources for employment, health care and legal services

Playful Learning spots offer multisensory activities supporting childhood brain development, literacy and kindergarten readiness

3,000 video tutorials by recognized industry experts, available free from Lynda.com with a library card, feature lessons for all skill levels in business, technology and more

Patron service priorities — reach out and partner, spark learning, and discover and use technology — bring focus to plans that staff at each library developed and began implementing for 2015–2017.

Moving forward on transit

Getting people and goods from one place to another is critical to our region’s economic vitality. Hennepin County maintains robust, multimodal transportation programs that include roads and bridges, mass transit, biking and walking.

Transportation and transit

Developing a world-class system


Passengers boarded light rail transit at Target Field Station

$2.2 million

Grants and loan agreements support affordable and market-rate housing and business on major transit routes throughout the county

$69 million

Investment in reconstruction so that county roads are safer, more efficient and better accommodate motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Efficient, reliable transportation is essential for livable communities and helps attract and retain residents and businesses. With light-rail ridership surpassing projections, the need for transit is one reason the county supports and leverages investments in this area. An updated bike plan calls for building 20 new miles of on- and off-street bikeways annually.

Station area planning

Making the most of our regional investment in light rail transit


Station area plans for the METRO Blue Line and Green Line extensions


Cities, nonprofits, community groups and other partners are engaged in the process to ensure plans reflect local characteristics, needs and preferences


Units of affordable housing proposed for the Southwest corridor by 2030. That could include 3,520 newly constructed units and 3,800 preserved units, within a half-mile of new light rail transit stations

Hennepin County’s leadership ensures that in addition to connecting people to places, planned light rail stations create opportunities for business, housing, retail and amenities. The goal is to foster vibrant, healthy, safe and beautiful neighborhoods.

Building a better future

Our housing stock is a foundation of our community. The county leverages staff expertise to improve the quality and accessibility of housing on numerous fronts.

Tax-forfeited properties

New options to get tax-distressed homes back on the market


Abandoned properties targeted for a new and expedited approach to resolve their tax-delinquent status


Weeks to redeem these properties, reduced from as long as three years in the past


Bidders at an auction committed to rehabilitate and live in the tax-distressed, vacant homes they purchased

Sentencing to Service Homes

A carpentry training program restores lives — and communities

paint can icon

Approximately 100 participants in the one-year program

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Major skills learned include mathematics, blueprint reading, framing, weatherization techniques and construction safety

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STS Homes crews worked on construction of state park cabins and new affordable homes, rehabilitation of older homes, historic stabilization and restoration

The Sentencing to Service Homes program rehabilitates and restores properties while providing valuable construction training to people who are on probation and to low-risk inmates of state prisons. After 10 weeks in the classroom, crews get on-the-job experience at actual project sites. The program’s benefits extend to the low-income earners who take ownership of affordable and rehabbed properties, and to the urban neighborhoods where once-abandoned homes are restored to livability.


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