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RECAP- Homelessness: How did we get here?

In 2019, there were 3,400 homeless people in Hennepin County, over 600 were unsheltered. In 2006, Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis created a Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. When our leaders have known for so long that there was an unsheltered homelessness crisis in Minneapolis, how did we reach a point where volunteers were managing outdoor encampments with hundreds of unsheltered people living in them? And where do we go from here?

These are a few of the questions asked panelists Sheila Delaney (independent consultant) and Dr. Zayed Ahmed (Director of Programming, Avenues for Youth) to consider in our conversation.

If you missed it, you can watch the recording here:


Key takeaways:

- We got here because our investments in solutions have never matched the scale of the issue

- The most successful solutions are co-created with persons experiencing homelessness and tailored to each community's needs

- We can work to both advocate for systems change and create our own community care and mutual aid to support neighbors experiencing homelessness and housing instability

- Find more resources, including those presented or referenced by our panelists, in our Resource Repository.


Insightful Quotes:

"I feel very strongly that the reason we haven't addressed this very addressable issue is that it has not been important enough to us."

- Sheila Delaney

"We have yet to begin to even tap into the wisdom that [communities experiencing homelessness] employ to help themselves. We've relied on a system to create something for them, rather than them create something for themselves."

- Dr. Zayed Ahmed

"When you add our transphobia or our homophobia in this country, when you add our racism and poverty, it then compounds the experience of folks who belong to all these communities."

- Dr. Zayed Ahmed

"Communities throughout history, when given enough resources, they have the ability to care for themselves... Any time people have given people who are unsheltered their own money, they know what to do with the money."

- Sheila Delaney


Mutual Aid Efforts in Powderhorn:

If you're looking to participate in mutual aid, whether it's supporting housed or unhoused neighbors, check out some of these resources. If you know of a mutual aid opportunity not on this list, let us know!

2) Twin Cities Mutual Aid Project - includes a map, volunteer opportunities, and lists of other mutual aid resources

4) Buy Nothing Project - Central, Corcoran, & Powderhorn



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