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Blog Prompt #2

Prompt:

Find a social-design issue - here in the Twin Cities.
Document it.
Become an advocate for it.

Stop for a moment and consider this:

• In a recent research study, it was calculated that there are approximately 3,000 homeless people in Hennepin County and more than 9,200 in Minnesota.

• A third of these people are children.

• More than half of the homeless people said they'd been homeless more than once in the past three years.

• In the 2005-2006 school year Minneapolis Public Schools worked with 4600 children and youth that experienced homelessness at some point during that school year.

• About 28 percent of homeless adults have a job.

• Nearly 40 percent of homeless people said they lost their housing because they couldn't afford rent. Mental health issues, chemical dependency, lack of education and incarceration were also cited.

• One in four homeless men is a military veteran; about 625 veterans are homeless on any given night.

• Nearly half of all homeless people in the Twin Cities are black.*

Homeless cuddling dog by Kirsten Bole 100 dpi_Full.jpg

In truth, these numbers did not shock me.

I have lived in Minneapolis for less than four months and have already seen these statistics firsthand. I walk through Dinkytown daily and it is not uncommon for me to see the homeless. There are countless reasons as to why they are without shelter. The bitter-hearted may argue that it is their own fault and a direct result of their poor decisions. But this is simply untrue in most cases. As these statistics show, many homeless do have jobs but simply cannot afford rent. Others find it nearly impossible to obtain a job, due to unfair racial profiling or given their criminal past and health/education issues. Whatever the case, by direct fault or not, these people have as much of a right to safe and secure housing as anyone else and cannot find it currently in the Twin Cities.

In the summer of 2006, the city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County passed a plan entitled “Heading Home Hennepin.? In this collaborative and ambitious effort, thousands of volunteers and community and government organizations are seeking to completely eliminate homelessness by the year 2016. Centered on six major goals and more than 50 “action steps,? this pressing social issue will hopefully be eliminated within the next ten years.

Minneapolis and Hennepin County are taking positive leaps toward ending homelessness, (which is certainly a lot more than what some cities are doing), but it will take some time and great effort from each and every one of us to achieve the final result. Rome wasn't built in a day and housing for those in need unfortunately won't be either. It may be ideological to think that homelessness can ever be completely eliminated, but the only way we can ever have a shot at it is through programs like these. Heading Home Hennepin presents a lofty but necessary goal. If we collaborate and unite for this common good, we can give it a fighting chance. Hopefully, in a matter of years, every person from Dinkytown to all reaches of Minnesota will have somewhere safe and warm to reside.

The Heading Home Hennepin Plan - full PDF
Download file

An update on the Heading Home Hennepin Plan as of August 2007 - PDF
Download file


(*statistics are from the Star Tribune – www.startribune.com - and the Heading Home Hennepin website - http://wwwa.co.hennepin.mn.us/portal/site/HCInternet/menuitem.3f94db53874f9b6f68ce1e10b1466498/?vgnextoid=ed9be74bbcbb3110VgnVCM1000000f094689RCRD&vgnextfmt=default)

(Photo from http://www.ehow.com/how_2031974_help-pets-homeless.html)