Hearth Connection works as an intermediary, allowing us to be the bridge between federal, state and county arenas, local community agencies and other stakeholders to test new ideas and target resources towards identified service gaps across Minnesota. We work across four large regions in Minnesota, and this unique position allows the creation, execution and evaluation of new ways to address how Minnesota is working to end homelessness.
Located across Minnesota, our four regional projects are unique collaborations among counties, bands, community partners, government and service agencies offering services and affordable housing to people with long histories of homelessness and complex barriers to health, housing and stability.
COORDINATED ENTRY NAVIGATION SERVICES (CENS)
Referrals for housing programs are required to go through the local Coordinated Entry System. Enrolling in a CENS program allows for households experiencing high barriers to have access to support services while waiting for an opening in a local housing program. In addition to support services, CENS gathers third-party eligibility documentation, allowing the Coordinated Entry System to identify the best available option for program participants. Once a housing program is identified, CENS coordinates a warm handoff.
STEP DOWN PILOT
Step Down oversees a household's transition from a site-based permanent supportive housing program to a less intensive scattered-site option with voluntary services. Many recognize that households in supportive housing sites stabilize over time and do not need the array of services provided onsite. Step Down offers an exit for stable households and creates a new spot for households just leaving homelessness and in need of a higher level of services.
RENTAL ASSISTANCE ONLY
The Regional Projects only go so far in ending homelessness! Hearth Connection finds creative ways to pair rental assistance with supportive services by developing partnerships with organizations who are already serving people experiencing chronic homelessness with varied funding sources. They need only the rental assistance so Hearth Connection provides it.
DAKOTA COUNTY HOUSING SEARCH AND STABILITY SERVICES
Acknowledging the need in their community, Dakota County has invested resources in providing supportive services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness as they move toward housing stability. In 2018, Dakota County initiated a partnership with Hearth Connection to manage the Housing Search and Stability Services program. Our provider partners work with participants to locate and obtain housing with rental assistance provided by Dakota County or the Dakota County Community Development Agency. Providers continue to support participants for as long as they need it and they continue to be eligible for services.
Many individuals who are experiencing mental health barriers are eligible for housing in the private sector through HUD’s 811 program. We partner with DHS, Minnesota Housing and Mental Health Resources, to provide support services for households that would not be able to maintain their homes without assistance. Hearth Connection providers assist in locating housing in the private market and are the bridge between property managers and program participants. They offer intensive support services necessary to maintain housing.
COMING HOME PILOTS
The Coming Home Pilots target individuals who are experiencing severe mental illness and qualify for support services through Medicaid. Hearth Connection provides funds for housing and maintaining services while case managers provide support services and set up eligibility for Medicaid funds.