Housing Matters works with Long-Term Homeless individuals with diagnosed disabilities utilizing a Minnesota state funded program called Housing Support. Our agency works with private market landlords in the community to secure available housing options, broker and maintain relationships between landlords and participants, make payments of rent and utilities on a participant's behalf, and to provide ongoing supports and basic need supplies.
What is Housing Support?
Housing Support (HS) is a state funded income supplement to help those who are low income and have a documented disability afford independent housing within the community. Funding is administered to the housing agency to make payment of rent and utilities on a person's behalf. There is a specific segment of people who also qualify for HS who meet the above criteria as well as being long-term homeless.
What is considered Long-Term Homeless?
Long Term Homeless is defined as 12 consecutive months with no permanent place to live, or 4 isolated episodes of homelessness within a period of the last three years. In order for a person to be eligible for HS, a person must meet this definition, and also be able to verify where they have stayed for the past three years.
How does someone get referred to Housing Matters?
To be referred to our program you must be currently homeless, have a documented disability and be staying in shelter, or precariously housed, sleeping outside, as well as to meet the definition of Long-Term Homeless. Other agencies that offer housing programs may have different criteria for their specific programs. In order to be considered for housing options a housing assessment must be completed to help us determine your specific needs and eligibility.
Please contact one of the following agencies to set up a housing assessment. Adults may contact Housing Matters (218-444-9038), or BICAP to schedule this. Additionally, if you are 18-24, you may contact Evergreen Youth and Family Services to schedule a housing assessment. A staff member of that agency can assist you in explaining their assessment process.
Once assessed you will be placed on a prioritization list which is known as Coordinated Entry. Once you have been placed on the referral list, one of the above agencies will contact you when there is a housing opening based on your eligibility. If our agency contacts you after you have been assessed, and you meet the eligibility criteria for our program, we will schedule a time with you to meet with us to complete an intake.
How long will it take to find housing after an intake is completed?
After your intake is completed it is given to our housing locator who begins to see what types of housing are available in the community. Things that are taken into consideration are your preference for housing, and also the various criteria that each landlord or property management company has. This can include criminal backgrounds, prior evictions or unlawful detainers, and certain income requirements. Each landlord and property is different, and although we work to find the quickest and most suitable housing opportunity, it is difficult to determine exactly the amount of time it may take to find this. It could range anywhere from several weeks to several months.
How is Housing Support funding used?
Housing Support is used by our program to pay a person's rent, utilities like gas and electric, and also provide other utility supports like a cell phone or home telephone. In some cases other expenses can be provided like additional food, and some transportation costs as well. Participants do not receive any funding directly, and the housing program receives all HS funding on the participant's behalf. The housing program acts as the fiscal agent for all HS funding received. Cash or gift cards can never be given directly to a participant. The HS fund is paid directly to the agency to provide services and supports like in home visits and for managing and administering payments to landlords and utility companies.