Even before the pandemic hit, the precariously housed population was growing in Minnesota and nationwide. Experts predict that the past year has only increased those numbers.
Minnesota offers a wealth of resources and services for the growing number of people experiencing homelessness, but finding these resources can sometimes be like navigating a maze. In this unique moment of pandemic recovery, access to services is just as critical as their existence in the first place.
Navigators: Making housing resources more approachable
Heading Home Corps is designed to help close the gap between resources and access to those resources for people experiencing homelessness. The concept for the program grew out of ServeMinnesota’s Emergency Response Initiative last summer, through which more than 70 AmeriCorps members supported COVID-related emergency services for people in precarious housing situations.
Heading Home Corps members will serve as Housing Resource Navigators, who will help families navigate the resources meant for them. The program will help scale effective strategies carefully designed by Minnesota’s State Office to Prevent and End Homelessness. After participating in an intensive training process, Housing Resource Navigators will guide individuals and families through the complexities of overlapping state infrastructures. These members will also have specific training in trauma-informed care, historical racism, and culturally responsive practices.
Just one piece of the puzzle
Housing is just one of many areas deeply affected by the pandemic. ServeMinnesota’s 19 other funded programs for 2021-2022 address needs in economic stability, environment, education, and recovery from substance use disorder. All funded programs – some of which have existed for more than 25 years – are guided by evidence around how to make a positive impact. Increased funding will allow for an additional 130 AmeriCorps members to serve these programs – bringing our total to more than 2,000 serving across the state.
If you’d like to become an AmeriCorps member, you can explore our programs here. And if you’re curious about Heading Home, visit the Heading Home Corps website.