Continuum of Care partnership to end homelessness

The Continuum of Care coordinates the countywide effort to prevent and end homelessness. This effort addresses homelessness at all levels. It includes elected officials, housing and service providers, advocates, and people who’ve experienced homelessness.

Expand all information

COVID-19 updates

Hennepin County shelter response update,
Friday, May 29, 2020

Hennepin County has been preparing to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19 among our most vulnerable residents, including those experiencing homelessness. The county continues to work with several area hotels and service providers to provide alternate housing for high-risk and sick residents who cannot isolate on their own.

Hennepin County first acted to establish alternative accommodations for high-risk residents at area hotels on Tuesday, March 17. To date, the county has allocated more than $6 million for protective and isolation housing for vulnerable residents.

Protective housing

As of Friday, May 29:

  • 286 healthy but high-risk residents are being housed at two area hotels, including 146 seniors and 140 people with underlying health conditions. 
  • The Higher Ground and Harbor Light Center hotel (operated by Catholic Charities and Salvation Army) has 207 people in 206 rooms (May 22). 
  • The Our Saviors and St. Stephen’s hotel has 138 people in 122 rooms (May 22).

Isolation housing

As of Friday, May 29: 

  • 14 people COVID-positive are housed in a hotel. 204 people have come through since this space was set up.
  • Four families are staying at a 55-room hotel that was activated for families staying in shelter, who have symptoms of COVID-19. Hennepin County is working with People Serving People, St. Anne's Place of Haven Housing and Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative to run the shelter. 

In total, 261 residents at protective and isolation hotels have been tested.

County, partners continue to provide permanent housing

Even during the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hennepin County and our partners continue to see success in our work to provide permanent housing to people experiencing chronic homelessness.

In 2018, staff used data to identify the most appropriate housing options for 90 people who had already been homeless for at least a year, and who live with a disability. In 2019, caseworker staff used the same methods to house 280 people meeting the same criteria. The numbers have remained stable in 2020, despite limitations imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Housing is the best way to improve people's mental health, improve people's physical health, improve their chemical health," said David Hewitt, director of the Office to End Homelessness. He added that access to stable housing also reduces use of hospital emergency departments, detox and the criminal justice system. 

Transitioning people from chronic shelter use into permanent housing also frees up bed space and caseworker time for people who are experiencing short-term crisis, to help prevent them from experiencing chronic homelessness. 

Lower than expected infection rates at Minneapolis shelter

This past week, Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis partnered with Minnesota Department of Health, Hennepin Health Care for the Homeless, and Hennepin County Medical Center to conduct COVID-19 testing for 72 clients and 13 staff at its Higher Ground Minneapolis shelter. Catholic Charities was pleased to host the first widespread testing at a shelter in Hennepin County. Staff worked hard to educate shelter guests about the testing process, and a large majority of shelter guests agreed to participate. The strong trust and working relationship with Hennepin County was key in facilitating smooth testing implementation.

The results of the testing effort showed a lower than expected incidence of confirmed cases based on recent finding by CDC.

Results from the Higher Ground Minneapolis testing: 

  • 0/13 staff tested positive
  • 6/72 clients tested positive 

The guest incidence rate for positive cases at Higher Ground Minneapolis shelter was 8.3%. This rate is much lower than expected incidence rates based on the Centers for Disease Control, which found that—in shelters with more than two cases of COVID, between 17%-66% of other shelter guests also tested positive.

The guests who tested positive have been moved to the Hennepin County isolation hotel. 

We believe these better-than-expected results could be a result of the work to move high-risk residents out of shelter and into protective housing. The resulting lower concentrations of guests at the shelter has allowed for improved social distancing. Catholic Charities has also implemented additional cleaning protocols and other measures to keep residents and staff healthy and safe.

COVID-19 pocket resource guide now available 

Hennepin County has printed a 10-page booklet that people who are experiencing homelessness can use to find resources such as food, public bathrooms and hygiene stations, WiFi and more. The idea originated in regular conversations with people with lived experience to share, and it proceeded with their ideas and input. Several of our partner agencies already have copies for distribution. 

Legal guidance and resources for renters

While evictions are not currently allowed under Governor Walz's Peacetime Emergency order, rent is still due. LawHelpMN.org has compiled helpful information about renters' rights during the pandemic and has legal aid available for tenants.
Learn more.

Hennepin County resource helpline
612-348-3000
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
7 days a week
Help available in different languages

If you're affected by COVID-19, you can call this number for help with clothing, financial assistance, grocery and household supplies, medical care and equipment, or medication.

COVID-19 information for people with housing instability

How to access emergency shelter

Single adults

Make shelter reservations by phone at 612-248-2350. The Adult Shelter Connect office at St. Olaf (215 – 8th Street South, Minneapolis) is closed to walk-ins.

Families

Monday – Friday until 11 p.m.: call 612-348-9410

Holidays, weekends and evenings until 11 p.m.: call 2-1-1 (mobile: 651-291-0211) and ask for the after-hours shelter team.

Youth

Visit YSNMN.org

Healthcare for the Homeless

Call 612-348-5553 to:

  • Access isolation and quarantine spaces if you are sick
  • Speak with a nurse
  • Get guidance for medical professionals and shelter providers
  • Speak with a social worker
  • Discuss mental health needs with a professional
  • Get information about health insurance and benefits
  • Learn more about Healthcare for the Homeless

Landlord-tenant mediation

Unemployment insurance

  • If your work hours have been reduced or eliminated, apply for unemployment insurance from the State of Minnesota. The usual waiting period has been waived.
  • If you are sick, quarantined, or home because of an outbreak at your work, you qualify for unemployment.
  • If you stay home due to lack of child care, you may qualify for unemployment.

To apply:

  • For English, Spanish, Somali, or Hmong at apply online.
  • If you don’t speak English, Spanish, Somali or Hmong or don’t have internet access, call 651-296-3644 and press 1 to request an interpreter

Apply for help with rent, food, or childcare

Online

Apply for cash assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), child care or emergency assistance at ApplyMN.

By phone

Apply by phone or get an application mailed to you by calling 612-596-1300.

Other ways to submit documents

Fax 612-288-2981 or for child care assistance documents fax 612-288-2982. In many cases, paperwork can wait until after the crisis.

Some sites have drop boxes for urgent use:

If you already receive cash, SNAP or health care you can keep getting benefits with no additional paperwork

Find current service information provided by Hennepin County, visit hennepin.us/covid-19.

Food

If you need immediate help with food, help applying for food benefits (SNAP) and free meals near you, visit hungersolutions.org.

If you don’t have internet access, call 1-888-711-1151.

  • Food during school closures –
    Minneapolis Public Schools: cws.mpls.k12.mn.us/COVID19
  • Download “Free Meals for Kids” mobile app –
    The Free Meals for Kids mobile app will help families and kids in need to find and access free food at sites across Minnesota. The app is powered by GPS and shows locations of sites that are providing food with days and hours of distribution. It also shows the distance and directions to the nearest site.
  • Give Me The Mike – A growing list of programs and restaurants offering food to families in MN

House of Charity

  • 510 – 8th Street South, Minneapolis
  • Monday – Friday:
    Breakfast: 8:30 – 9 a.m., for women and children only
    Lunch: Noon to 1 p.m., open to all
  • Weekends:
    Brunch: Noon to 1 p.m., open to all

Dignity Center

Plymouth Congregational

Rent and emergency financial assistance for Hennepin County residents

  • Single adults:
    Catholic Charities Opportunity Center: 612-204-8273
  • Families:
    St. Stephen's Human Services: 612-870-2298
  • Youth (under 24) and young families:
    YMCA Youth Intervention Services: 763-493-3052
  • Hennepin County residents who have been financially harmed by COVID-19 may be eligible for emergency rental assistance. Learn more and apply

Domestic Abuse Service Center

  • Advocacy, orders for protection and safety planning services can be accessed by calling 612-348-5073.
  • We discourage anyone from coming to the domestic abuse service center at the Government Center. But if someone finds themselves there, a conference room has been set up on the same level equipped with phones to call the services number 612-348-5073. The room is A0710.

Day One Domestic Abuse, Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking Crisis Line

Utilities and internet

  • Xcel Energy will indefinitely suspend service disconnections and waive late fees when associated with COVID-19 challenges. Call 1-800-895-4999.
  • CenterPoint Energy is doing the same for gas. Call 1-800-245-2377.
  • For information about low and no-cost internet, visit The National Digital Inclusion Alliance digitalinclusion.org/free-low-cost-internet-plans/ or National locator tool for low-cost internet service offers: everyoneon.org/find-offs.

Legal help

If you need legal assistance with housing, finance, work, benefits, or another matter:

Hygiene stations

Hygiene stations include portable toilets, handwashing stations, sharps containers, and trash receptacles.

Public restrooms

Public restrooms and hand-washing stations – flyer (PDF)

House of Charity

510 – 8th Street South, Minneapolis
Weekdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Bathroom, hand-washing, shower

Catholic Charities Adult Opportunity Center

740 – 17th Street East, Minneapolis
Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Bathroom, hand-washing, shower

Dignity Center

425 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9 – 11:30 a.m.
Bathroom, hand-washing

Hennepin County Government Center

300 – 6th Street South, Minneapolis
Monday – Friday: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Bathroom, hand-washing 

Peace House Community

1816 Portland Avenue, Minneapolis
Weekdays: Noon – 3 p.m.
Bathroom, hand-washing

Willard Park

North 17th Avenue, Minneapolis
8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bathroom, hand-washing

Marshall Terrace Park

2740 Marshall Street Northeast, Minneapolis
8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bathroom, hand-washing

Mueller Park

2509 Colfax Avenue South, Minneapolis
8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bathroom, hand-washing

Bryn Mawr Meadows Park

601 Morgan Avenue South, Minneapolis
8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bathroom, hand-washing

Target Field Station – Metro Transit

335 – 5th Street North, Minneapolis
Portable bathroom

Breakthrough Ministries

1000 Currie Avenue, Minneapolis
Portable bathroom and hand-washing stations

MPLS DID and Salvation Army

1000 Currie Avenue, Minneapolis
Portable bathrooms and hand-washing stations

The Commons Park – Minneapolis Park Board

425 Portland Avenue South, Minneapolis
Portable bathroom

Peavey Park

730 E 22nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55404 
Portable Bathroom, hand-washing

Logan Park

690 13th Ave. NE Minneapolis, MN 55413
Portable Bathroom, hand-washing

Handwashing stations

MPLS DID map sites: mplsdid.com/news_article/show/1098002

COVID-19 information for housing and service providers

Sign up for updates about health information for shelter providers.

Health information for shelter providers

Addressing and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in your facility

Full guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)

Shelter staff with symptoms now eligible for COVID-19 testing through Hennepin Healthcare

  • Hennepin Healthcare has expanded eligible groups who qualify for COVID-19 testing to include staff with respiratory symptoms who work at homeless shelters or homeless drop-in centers.
  • People experiencing homelessness living in congregate settings were previously identified as a priority population for testing.
  • Learn more about Hennepin Healthcare's priority population for testing (PDF)

If a resident has symptoms of COVID-19

  • If a resident seeking shelter has flu-like symptoms, including a fever or cough, call Health Care for the Homeless at 612-348-5553. A nurse will help determine next steps.
  • Move them to a separate space within the facility to safely isolate them from other residents and wait while alternative accommodations are arranged.

How high-risk people living in congregate shelter settings are being protected

  • The most important step Hennepin County's shelter response team has taken so far to protect our shelter populations is relocating 231 people identified as high-risk out of our congregate shelter settings into separate accommodations.
  • Staff are working with Healthcare for the Homeless on an ongoing basis to identify especially vulnerable residents, including seniors and people with underlying health conditions, and move them to separate accommodations when possible.

What Minnesota's 'stay-at-home' order means for shelter providers

  • Shelter providers and other staff supporting homelessness programs are considered essential workers under Governor Tim Walz's executive order asking Minnesotan's to stay home unless absolutely necessary. At this time, Hennepin County understands that essential staff whose jobs require them to leave their home are not required to carry a letter or any other type of documentation.
  • County staff will continue to monitor this question and update this list with further or different guidance as it comes.

What Governor Walz's executive order to stay at home mean for people experiencing homelessness

  • People without a home are exempt from the restrictions in Executive Order 20-20, and they may move between emergency shelters, drop-in centers, and encampments. Read the full executive order (PDF).

How to get additional supplies for your facility such as masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes or thermometers

How to prevent the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 in the homeless community

The Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health offer posters and fact sheets you can post and distribute to keep residents informed.

Statewide coordination of COVID-19 response for people experiencing homelessness

  • Providers of services, assistance, and housing for people experiencing homelessness in our community are invited to participate in statewide coordinating webinars on COVID-19 and homelessness.
  • Join staff from counties, tribal nations, continuums of care for the homeless, and other community providers in Minnesota to hear regular updates on the state and local response to COVID-19.
  • Webinars will take place each Wednesday, from 1-2 p.m., beginning Wednesday, March 25. Only one person per agency or program should participate in the webinar. 
  • Join the webinar (you need a computer to access the webinar)

Continuity of operations planning

  • Partners and providers are encouraged to review or develop Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP) to ensure that services to residents continue if the availability of provider staff is limited by the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
  • For more resources on developing a COOP, visit hennepin.us/hhspartners.

Guidance for in-person service delivery

  • The State of Minnesota sets requirements regarding in-person visits for most services.
  • Providers should watch for communications from the State of Minnesota. Hennepin County is working closely with the State of Minnesota and will share updates as further guidance becomes available. Visit hennepin.us/hhspartners for updates and resources for remote service delivery.

Waivers under peacetime emergency authority, Executive Order 20-12

  • Under the Governor’s Emergency Executive Order 20-12, the Minnesota Department of Human Services has temporary authority to waive or modify requirements so that the agency and its partners can continue to provide essential programs and services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A list of all waivers and modifications currently in effect is posted at the DHS website. It will be updated as necessary. We encourage you to monitor the DHS website and DHS bulletins.

Child care for homelessness support staff

  • As part of the response to the spread of COVID-19, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has directed schools to provide free child care for emergency workers, including key staff from homelessness programs and emergency shelters. View the full list of qualifying emergency workers (PDF)
  • The Minnesota Department of Education is providing direction to school districts on this process. To arrange free childcare, emergency workers should contact their school district directly. Additional up-to-date information can be found on the Minnesota Department of Education's webpage.

For school and child care questions 

Questions and updates

Please check this page, as well as hennepin.us/hhspartners for updates and send questions to endhomelessness@hennepin.us.

Additional guidance for housing and service providers

Planning and initiatives

All populations

Coordinating access to homeless prevention resources

Transparent, easy access to prevention resources are critical to helping people avoid eviction or homelessness.

Community agencies in Hennepin County intend to lift the burden of navigating the system off of people in crisis. People with highest needs will be able to access the most appropriate resources for their housing stability.

Using a multi-pronged, diversion-focused approach (PDF) that provides virtual and physical (community-based) tenant resources, we intend to coordinate community-based prevention resources. In addition workforce and county-administered prevention programs will be a critical part of the system.

Contact: Heidi Boyd at heidi.boyd@hennepin.us

Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities (SPARC)

People of color are dramatically more likely than white people to experience homelessness in the United States. SPARC is a national movement, led by the Center of Social Innovation, that addresses racial disparities through action and research. Hennepin County has joined 6 other communities in an effort to begin a national conversation about racial equity in the homelessness sector.

Contact: David Hewitt at david.hewitt@hennepin.us

Chronic Index

The 'Chronic Index' is a by-name list of people who are experiencing chronic homelessness in Hennepin County (HC) based on Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and provider data. The chronic index is utilized in the Coordinated Entry System (CES) as the primary method of prioritization. The list is maintained Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness. To learn more, click here: Chronic Index

Contact: Mark Legler at mark.legler@hennepin.us

Single adults

Built for Zero

This is a national effort led by the nonprofit Community Solutions. The goal is to end chronic homelessness in Hennepin County using incremental change and current resources.

Hennepin County has participated since June 2018. A small internal team creates and manages goals and projects.

Contact: Danielle Werder at danielle.werder@hennepin.us

Youth

Minor Connect

This program aims to create more effective services for homeless youth ages 15-17.

So far, the program has worked with over 60 youth. We work to reunify minors with their families. We also work to connect them to appropriate resources, shelter and housing.

Partners are the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Hennepin County, and local organizations serving youth experiencing homelessness.

Contact: Paul Minehart at paul.minehart@state.mn.us

Families

Family Shelter Diversion

This program gets families into stable housing without first having to use a shelter.

Since it started in July 2018, the program has diverted 46 families from shelters.

Catholic Charities runs the program, under a contract with the county. The county’s shelter team refers the families to the program.

Contact: Casey Schleisman at casey.schleisman@hennepin.us

Stable Homes, Stable Schools

This program will provide rental assistance to families.

Fifteen K-8 Minneapolis public schools serving high-need families will do most referrals. Rental assistance could help up to 320 families, including almost 650 students. Families will also receive housing readiness and ongoing support. Rental assistance could last up to three years and possibly longer.

Families will also receive services depending on funding.

Partners are the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minneapolis Public Schools and Minneapolis Public Housing Authority.

Contact: Casey Schleisman at casey.schleisman@hennepin.us

Completed Planning and Initiatives

Ten-year plan to end homelessness (PDF)

Heading Home Hennepin annual update 2017 (PDF)

Stable Families Initiative outcomes report 2016 (PDF)

Adult Shelter Connect

This provides homeless single adults a single point of entry into shelter. This makes it simpler for homeless single adults to find shelter.

In 2016 five agencies providing emergency shelter for single adults streamlined the entry process. It uses information management, identification cards, bed reservations, and coordinated assignments.

Contact: Danielle Werder at danielle.werder@hennepin.us

Planning and initiatives documents

Shelter redesign plan (DOCX)

Rapid exit and shelter mobility 2011 (PDF)

Housing first program evaluation 2009 (PDF)

System response to end chronic homelessness summary report 2017 (DOC)

Data and research

Current data and trends

Weekly shelter

Monthly chronic homelessness

Quarterly family shelter

Semi-annual unsheltered point in time

Annual point in time

Detailed evictions overview

Find data on where, when and how evictions happen in the county. See this detailed overview, known as the evictions dashboard.

The eviction flow illustration (PDF) explores all 4,755 eviction filings in 2018 and documents outcomes at each step of the eviction process.

Housing stability

Homeless response system research

"Missed Opportunities" in the Pathway from Referral to Housing (PDF)

Family homelessness research

Youth homelessness research

Evictions research

Governing boards and committees

Executive committee

  • Oversees the homeless response system in Hennepin County
  • Assigns work to operations board and working committees
  • Contact: David Hewitt at david.hewitt@hennepin.us

Meetings

  • Monday, March 16, 2020, 9–10:30 a.m.
  • Hennepin County Government Center
    Conference Room C2350

Operations board

Meetings

  • First Monday of the month, 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Location to be determined

HUD McKinney Vento CoC funding committee

  • Monitors and evaluates performance of all projects funded by Continuum of Care
  • Solicits new project applications and recommends final funding decisions
  • Contact: Laura DeRosier at laura.derosier@hennepin.us

Meetings

  • First Monday of the month, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
  • Location to be determined

Data and evaluation committee

  • Makes recommendations to the Continuum of Care Operations Board for Hennepin Continuum of Care’s response to the HMIS Data Quality Framework process
  • Reviews system data to create strategies to move the gage on the HUD System Performance Measures and to update the Continuum of Care Written Standards
  • Committee documents
  • Contact: Laura DeRosier at laura.derosier@hennepin.us

Meetings

  • First Monday of the month 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Location to be determined

Membership and nominations committee

  • Annually reviews membership process and application for the Continuum of Care
  • Develops a plan of outreach to the full diversity of stakeholders
  • Committee documents
  • Contact: Eric Richert at eric.richert@hennepin.us

Meetings

  • First Monday of the month 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Location to be determined

Homeless prevention and rapid rehousing advisory committee

  • Helps the county develop and oversee homeless prevention and rapid rehousing services
  • Contact: Stacy Sweeney at stacy.sweeney@ymcamn.org

Meetings

  • Third Tuesday of the month, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • St. Stephen's
    2309 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis

Family coordinated entry leadership committee

Meetings

  • First Tuesday of the month, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
  • Sabathani
    310 East 38th Street, Minneapolis

Single adults coordinated entry leadership committee

  • Provides guidance and decisions to successfully operate single adult coordinated entry service
  • Contact: jwagner@rseden.org

Meetings

  • First Tuesday of the month, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Sabathani
    310 East 38th Street, Minneapolis

Shelter efficiency

  • Improves the homeless shelter system for single adults
  • Identifies barriers for single adult shelters and coordinates services
  • Enables more effective community-wide strategies to end homelessness
  • Contact: Danielle Werder at danielle.werder@hennepin.us

Meetings

  • Third Wednesday of the month, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Simpson Shelter
    2740 First Avenue South, Minneapolis

Employment and income committee

  • Creates strategies to help partners improve employment results for clients
  • Builds awareness of the importance of employment and income in preventing and ending homelessness
  • Contact: Heidi Schmidt Boyd at heidi.boyd@hennepin.us
  • Committee documents

Meetings

  • Meeting time is to be determined
  • Sabathani
    310 East 38th Street, Minneapolis

Family service network

  • Works to improve the family support system, focusing on well-being of children who are homeless
  • Identifies more effective community-wide strategies to end homelessness for families
  • Contact: Casey Schleisman at casey.schleisman@hennepin.us

Meetings

  • Meets quarterly on the second Friday of the month, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Various locations

Hennepin County youth collaborative

  • Serves as a forum to frame solutions for youth (ages 16-24) experiencing homelessness
  • Contact: Casey Schleisman at casey.schleisman@hennepin.us

Meetings

  • Third Friday of the month, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • South Hub Hennepin County Human Service Center
    2215 East Lake Street (Room #122), Minneapolis

Youth action board

  • Creates a bridge for those serving youth, youth at-risk, and youth experiencing homeless
  • Contact: Casey Schleisman at casey.schleisman@hennepin.us

Meetings

  • Second Monday of the month, 3–5 p.m.
  • Location is to be determined

The outreach group

  • Serves as a forum for outreach workers to network, work on system issues and form partnerships
  • Contact: Molly Dolan, molly.dolan@hennepin.us

Meetings

  • Fourth Tuesday of the month, 9–10:30 a.m.
  • St. Stephen's
    2309 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis

Single adult collaborative review

Meetings

  • First and third Tuesdays of the month, 11 a.m. to noon
  • St. Olaf Catholic Church (basement meeting room)

FY 2019 notice of funding availability

Grants to reduce homelessness

The county receives federal money to reduce homelessness:

  • Federal money comes from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) McKinney Vento Continuum of Care
  • Money goes for grants to local partners
  • Partners help people find and stay in housing
  • People served are single adults, families and youth who meet HUD’s criteria for homelessness
  • The county and its partners compete nationally to receive the money

Grant application documents

2018 grantees

FY2018 grant awards (XLSX)

Collapse all information
Top