Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
Homeless man sleeping on the street

Leading the fight against homelessness

Added on Thursday, March 7, 2013

A new report released by the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation finds homelessness in Minnesota has increased 6 percent since 2009. The real-life story of that report can be seen at The Salvation Army every day.

“Whether you are talking about young adults or retirees, we are seeing more need in all groups,” said Lt. Col. Robert Thomson, commander of The Salvation Army in Minnesota and North Dakota.

According to the Wilder Foundation survey, conducted with Salvation Army assistance, on October 25, 2012, there were 10,214 people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota.  The total includes people contacted in emergency shelters, battered women’s shelters and transitional housing, as well as those found through outreach efforts at encampments and hot meal programs.

The Wilder Foundation notes that the count underrepresents the total homeless population, since many people outside the traditional shelter system are not found.

Additional findings include:

  • a slight increase (4 percent) in the total number of families experiencing homelessness.
  • a 22 percent increase in the number of two-parent homeless families.
  • a dramatic increase in older adults experiencing homelessness. Statewide, 777 homeless adults age 55 and older were counted in the 2012 study – a 48 percent increase from 2009.

“We are working across the state from Duluth to Rochester to ensure people who find themselves without a home are given a safe place to begin rebuilding their lives,” Thomson said. “We can conclude from the Wilder Foundation survey that, in the Twin Cities, The Salvation Army is caring for almost 25 percent of the entire single adult homeless population.”

According to the study’s initial findings, young people are most at risk for homelessness. Wilder Foundation says children and youth age 21 and younger make up 46 percent of Minnesota’s homeless population.

“We saw the increased need for service to youth and responded by opening an emergency shelter for youth at our Booth Brown House in St. Paul,” Thomson said. “Beds have been full ever since we opened the doors last June.”

The Salvation Army operates a variety of housing centers throughout Minnesota, including in Minneapolis, Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud and Mankato. Additional help is available through rent assistance and transitional housing in many other communities.