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 get 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. If all of these apply to you, please contact Bicap if you are an adult, and Evergreen Youth and Family Services if you are 18-24. A staff member of that agency can assist you in scheduling and assessment. Once assessed you will be placed on a prioritization list which is known as Coordinated Entry. All persons entering into housing will need to be referred to our program through Coordinated Entry. We do not take self referrals or referrals from other agencies.
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.