Over 1,400 families experience homelessness every night in Hennepin County, and thousands more are at serious risk of entering shelter (Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness, 2017). In order to more effectively target services, county officials would like to understand the demographic characteristics and service use patterns of families at risk of entering shelter. This project aims to provide Hennepin County with more information about who is accessing its services and when they are accessing them; specifically addressing these questions:
● How do families who receive Emergency Assistance (EA), Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program (FHPAP), or enter shelter compare across demographics and service use?
● Of those who received EA, FHPAP, or shelter services, how many also received services (i.e., EA, FHPAP) before and when?
● To what extent do families that come to the county for homelessness prevention or homelessness assistance follow Hennepin County’s expected pathway of services: emergency assistance, community prevention (FHPAP), and shelter?
● Of those who received prevention (i.e., EA, FHPAP), how many also entered shelter within one year? Does Hennepin County target its services (i.e., EA, FHPAP) to those most at risk of entering shelter?
Our research team conducted quantitative analysis on household heads who received homelessness prevention and assistance services from the County. Data on household heads included demographics and use of other county-administered government services. Samples were constructed to look backwards and forwards from families’ interactions with homelessness prevention and assistance services to understand the use and effectiveness of these services.
Our research found the majority of families accessing preventive services had a female head of household between the ages of 25 to 34 with one to two children. Relative to their populations in Hennepin County, African American families were disproportionately represented in use of preventative services and shelter. American Indian families were disproportionately represented in shelter and underserved by EA and FHPAP.
Capstone paper for the fulfillment of the Master of Public Policy degree.
Besst, Stephanie; Malone, Jack; Pfluger, Lydia; Ruth, Hanna.
Assessment of the Provision and Use of Emergency Assistance, Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program, and Shelter in Hennepin County.
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