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By: Ellie Bullard

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How One Housing Resource Navigator is Helping Survivors Find Safe Housing

Minnesota is experiencing the greatest housing shortage in decades. Increases in both home prices and rents are outpacing wage growth and leaving fewer options for those at median and low income levels. This housing crisis has only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

This September, we proudly launched one of our newest AmeriCorps programs – Heading Home Corps. Designed to help people experiencing homelessness overcome barriers, Heading Home Corps is placing AmeriCorps members in nonprofits across the state to provide extra capacity and support people in achieving their housing goals.

Autumn Hamilton is a Housing Resource Navigator in this new cohort. Autumn, who uses they/them pronouns, just started serving at the Committee Against Domestic Abuse in Mankato, MN. “I was always really interested in serving with AmeriCorps,” they said. “So when I heard about the opportunity to be a navigator, it seemed like the perfect fit.“ Having worked with the team at Committee Against Domestic Abuse in the past, Autumn was excited to have the opportunity to reconnect.

The Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA) is a nonprofit which serves survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence and sex trafficking. They provide a variety of services including shelter, advocacy, supervised parenting time, and community education. “Having been a survivor of domestic and sexual assault myself, I realized I should use my experiences and give insight on how to come outside of those situations,” Autumn said. “This work definitely wasn’t ever in my original plan, but I am grateful to be where I am.”

Traveling to different outreach offices throughout the state, Autumn will conduct housing assessments to help survivors identify what housing programs they may qualify for, then provide resources and support to help them secure safe housing. “My service has just begun, but so far it seems like we have a really talented cohort of Housing Resource Navigators with a diverse background,” they said. “Just hearing about the work that other navigators are doing across the state makes me excited to see the impact that we can all have. I am not in this alone and AmeriCorps has made that really clear. I’m excited to be a part of such a great team.”

Given the current housing crisis in Minnesota, Housing Resource Navigators are needed statewide. The next cohort will begin their service in November – apply by October 20 by visiting servetogrow.org/headinghome.

Have questions or want to learn more? Email headinghome@servetogrow.org.

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