November is recognized as “Homeless Awareness Month” in Minnesota and across the nation. The Community Social Service and Behavioral Health Department use this opportunity to reflect on the continued need to for safe affordable housing in our communities.
One agency or service alone cannot prevent or solve all the issues associated with Homelessness. Anoka County approaches this issue locally through its strong partnerships with housing providers, community organizations and the faith community through the Heading Home Anoka Housing Collaborative. The leadership of this collaborative represents shelters, food shelves, outreach services and county social services staff. The Collaborative identifies community needs and provides planning efforts to create a more efficient and robust continuum of care for individuals and families in need of emergency shelter, and safe, affordable housing. This work is also part of a larger metro county effort through the Suburban Metro Area Continuum of Care (SMAC) and the state-wide Heading Home Plan.
As one local measure of the community need, the Heading Home Anoka Housing Collaborative organizes and executes a one night count of individuals and families experiencing homelessness, called the Point-in Time (PIT) count. This effort is organized Nationally by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is carried out across the nation on one day in January each year.
On January 26, 2017, volunteers across the state of Minnesota identified 7,668 individuals who were homeless, 3,769, or 49%, of which were families with children.
On the same night, volunteers in Anoka County identified 142 people who were homeless, 74 individuals, or 52%, of which were families with children.
45 individuals, were homeless and staying outside
97 individuals were homeless, and staying in shelters or other transitional housing
217 individuals were also identified as “couch-hopping.”
67 children, under age 18 were homeless, and staying in shelters, transitional housing or couch-hopping.
The next Point-In-Time Count is set for January 24, 2018.