…I would like to be able to give people useful information about where to get help?
...I see someone who appears to be homeless and is in immediate distress?
Call 911. Sometimes people call our Street Outreach line when they see someone in distress, but our Street Outreach team is not an emergency response team.
...someone who appears to be homeless asks me for money?
We really like the answer the Coalition for the Homeless gives for this question, so we want to share it with you:
Each of us must make our own decisions about whom to help and how, and just because someone is asking for food or money doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is homeless. But it’s safe to assume that person would not be asking for help if help was not needed.
...someone close to me is experiencing homelessness?
We know this is a taxing situation for many people. It's okay to let someone stay with you (given that you're comfortable with it and not putting your own housing situation in jeopardy), and it's just as okay to say that you can't provide that support. Feel free to share our "Get Help" page with your loved one and let them know about resources that are available.
…I see the same people at the same intersections every day and they don’t seem interested in being connected to resources?
Some people have had bad experiences in a shelter and are not interested in returning. It can be disheartening to see the same people every day, but know that if they are “regulars” in Minneapolis, they are likely on our Street Outreach team’s radar. Know that our trained team is working to build relationships and rapport to encourage people who are eligible for help to make use of those resources.
It's also important to remember that we do not have enough affordable housing or shelter in the Twin Cities to accommodate everyone who needs them. Of the 843-893 shelter beds available for single adults in Hennepin County, 100% are filled nearly every night. 41% of adults experiencing homelessness in Minnesota are on a waiting list for subsidized housing, and the average waiting period is 11 months. 14% of adults experiencing homelessness in Minnesota can't get on a waiting list for subsidized housing because their waiting list is closed.
We invite you to learn more about these issues on our Understanding Homelessness page.