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Stats and strategies: Housing and homelessness news roundup
February 11, 2016

Minnesota is making strides to decrease homelessness - 

Star Tribune, Minnesota is getting closer to ending homelessness by Editorial Board, Jan. 27, 2015

In a nutshell: Minnesota’s investment in housing and services to house those experiencing homelessness is proven effective solution – let’s keep it up.

The Star Tribune editorial board suggests that recent policy changes, an infusion of state funds and better service coordination are the reasons that homelessness dropped about 10 percent as indicated by the 2015 point in time count, compared to 2014's count. Noted: because of targeted focus, we're closing in on ending veteran homelessness and show a 17 percent decrease in family homelessness.

CityLab, Why Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, Is the New Face of Suburbia by Amanda Kolson Hurley, Feb. 11, 2016

In a nutshell: The divide about where to locate affordable housing could play out in suburbs like Brooklyn Park.

“Brooklyn Park offers an early look at the future of suburbia as it diversifies, resegregates, and faces “urban” challenges as never before.”

Brooklyn Park is now a majority minority city. It’s also seen a rise in poverty which has an impact on schools and community needs for affordable housing. Yet some proponents argue that this is precisely where affordable housing should not be built because they say it would maintain poverty levels in concentrated areas, while instead housing should be built in areas with less of it – such as other, whiter suburbs. Integration itself is positive for communities, but when  accompanied by an increase in poverty level – and therefore declining tax base and average household income – the changes become problematic from a city management point of view.

The Atlantic, How Health and Homelessness are Connected—Medically by Seiji Hayashi, Jan 25, 2016

In a nutshell: Housing access is public health issue.

Lack of housing puts people in harm’s way when it comes to illnesses, both chronic and mundane. And on the flip side, some health issues or diseases can lead to medical bills or job loss, triggering homelessness.

“The connection between housing and health is coldly logical. The sick and vulnerable become homeless, and the homeless become sicker and more vulnerable. … The specific therapy for homelessness and its associated health issues is housing.”

CultureMap Austin, Innovative new East Austin micro-village will rent to homeless for $210 a month by Melissa Gaskill, Aug 24, 2014 (with current link to Community First website)

In a nutshell: One community has created housing and community connections for some who have experienced chronic homelessness.

Community First! is a 27-acre, master-planned project in East Austin designed to provide affordable, sustainable housing and support for Central Texans who have been chronically homeless. It includes a mix of housing options including 100 lots for RVs, 125 micro-homes (at $210 per month) and canvas-sided cottages or platform tents ($180 per month includes wall socket and ceiling light) and 12 tipi sites. Use of outdoor kitchens, showers, and laundry facilities is also included. A project of Austin Mobile Loaves and Fishes.

While this would be less likely to work in Minnesota for climate reasons, it's an innovative approach that combines a place to live with people to care about.

Bring Me The News, New website, app helps homeless youth find available beds, by Shaymus McLaughlin, July 3, 2015

In a nutshell:  Kudos to the Youth Service Network (a collaboration among 12 nonprofit organizations) for this tech tool to help youth find shelter beds and other resources.