New Plan to End Homelessness in Minnesota Unveiled Today
PHOTO: State officials today will announce a new plan to end homelessness, just hours before the homeless who died in Minnesota this past year are honored with a march and services. Courtesy Simpson Housing Services
December 19, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - As Minnesota prepares to begin a new effort to end homelessness, the dozens who died in the state this year are being remembered and honored. The 29th Annual Minnesota Homeless Memorial March and Service is set for this evening in Minneapolis, organized by Simpson Housing Services, said executive director Steve Horsfield.
"Really, the march is to symbolize the march that those who are experiencing homelessness are doing day-in, day-out. It is extremely hard work trying to find the immediate resources - be that a meal, a shower, a place to sleep - when you don't have proper housing," Horsfield said.
Before the events this evening, Minnesota's commissioners of Education, Housing Finance and Human Services will gather in St. Paul at 2 p.m. to announce the state's new plan to end homelessness. The plan includes an initiative to provide rental assistance and other support services for families with school-age children who frequently move.
Horsfield said that focus on families is much needed.
"About a third of those experiencing homelessness are kids with their parents, so these are families. And another less-significant trend, but definitely concerning, is the increase in the number of two-parent families that are experiencing homelessness: a mom and dad and kids," he said.
Among those who have been homeless but who found help through Simpson Housing Services is Kathy O'Neil, Minneapolis. She said too many people have misconceptions about homelessness.
"Until I became homeless, I didn't really see the picture for what it truly is. Some people think that these are bad people that this happens to, and it's not. It's people from all over. You can have the rug pulled out from you in a moment's notice," O'Neil said.
It is estimated that around 10,000 Minnesotans are homeless on any given night.
Information about the march is available at http://www.simpsonhousing.org/. Data on homelessness in Minnesota is at www.wilder.org.