Minnesota makes strides to prevent homelessness
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (KEYC) - U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) chaired a hearing about a federal strategic plan to prevent homelessness across the nation.
In December, the U.S Interagency Council on Homelessness published a federal, strategic plan called “All In,” with a goal to reduce homelessness by 25% by 2025.
“This is an aggressive goal, but I’m glad that we’re aiming high here,” said Sen. Smith.
The “All In” plan is a roadmap to improve shelters, expand housing options, and support people in their journey out of homelessness.
“I think another thing that we’ve learned is that it takes everybody in the communities that we see really making progress -- in lockstep with what we’re trying to do with Federal resources,” said Jeff Olivet, the Executive Director of U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “Where we see that alignment, we see things happen.”
The Mankato Salvation Army’s Capt. Andy Wheeler expressed his happiness about the prospect of homelessness numbers shrinking.
“Our team rejoices when we see people who have been homeless -- for months or even years -- and give them a key to a place that they get to call their own,” said Wheeler.
In Mankato, the Salvation Army shelter is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., weekly, with holiday observances, and provides beds, showers, laundry units, and a new occupational therapy painting session.
In February, the City and Connections Ministry announced plans to increase its shelter capacity and hours -- although the project is still in its early planning.
However, the Salvation Army says any news or resource to end homelessness is encouraging.
“We need folks from the government -- statewide, nationwide -- to be willing to let that money trickle down so programs, like ours, won’t have to worry about where the next light bill is going to be paid,” said Wheeler. “We struggled with our Christmas campaign. and I’m looking at numbers, now, and it seems a little dismal. So, we just hope that the folks who can will help those who can’t.”
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