Helping to support stable families
Sherrod, 23, is a participant in the Young Parent Pilot, an offshoot of the Hennepin County Stable Families Initiative. The initiative works toward the goal of making homelessness rare, short and non-recurring by offering a suite of services to families who are either repeat users of the emergency shelter system, or who are at risk of long-term homelessness.
Over about two years, the Stable Families Initiative has helped to reduce family shelter use overall, and set a course to reduce the number of families returning to shelter once they are established in housing.
In 2013, Hennepin County observed that 25 percent of families in emergency shelter had been there before, twice the number from five years earlier. Preventing a return to shelter could have saved the community $1.5 million in shelter costs per year and reduced the trauma to families that homelessness causes.
Families participating in the initiative have higher barriers to stability, and their children have lived in unstable situations for several years. The program aims to support families beyond traditional services, which have not previously been enough to prevent a return to homelessness.