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On September 5, 2017 an Open Records and Data Request was submitted to Hennepin County’s Office to End Homelessness. The request was signed by 35 members of the public with an interest in obtaining information on the mechanics, expenditures and outcomes of the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness (2006-2016). Specifically, the signatories sought explanations as to how such a well-funded resulted in an increase, rather than a reduction, in the numbers of homeless people in Hennepin County.

On September 25, 2017, the signatories received a Response Letter to MH  and documents from the responsible authority for Hennepin County. In addition to the embedded link to a PDF version of the responsive letter (above) we are posting the text of the letter, in its entirety, below. As time permits, each responsive document will be accessible from this post in PDF format. Separate posts will treat each responsive document moving forward, providing commentary as needed.

Hennepin County

Hennepin County

Margaret Hastings

Dear Ms. Hastings:

My name is Nick Schicker, Responsible Authority Designee for Welfare Data for Health and Human Services of Hennepin County.  The Responsible Authority for Hennepin County is Kristi Lahti-Johnson.

Introduction

The Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness in Minneapolis and Hennepin County was created as a shared vision of common principles to guide planning and action steps across civic partners such as corporate, government, philanthropic, nonprofit, and faith based organizations. 

This ten year agreement is not a program.  It is not a mandate.  It is a map and a call-to-action for civic partners.  The plan provides common language, proven strategies for reducing homelessness, and examples of successful models for service delivery.

Prior to Phase One, the Finance Committee of the Commission offered suggestions with the intent to provide an initial framework for possible financing strategies.  Even then a $45M funding gap was acknowledged based on then existing and projected resources.  The financing plan assumed that all existing sources would continue at then current funding levels.  In real time, the 2008 financial crisis, prolonged recession, 2011 North Minneapolis tornado, and other factors increased demand for services as people lost jobs and homes thereby putting more strain on the system.

Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness (OEH) over the past ten years OEH was staffed by both Hennepin County (HC) and City of Minneapolis employees.  It has gone through multiple shifts in organizational structure and personnel over the past ten years.

Summary of Communication:

7/3/17 – David Hewitt’s email to you providing notice of the ongoing process to produce a final report on the ten-year plan.

7/11/17 – David Hewitt’s email to you attaching the two most recent ‘annual reports’ (2015 & 2014).  Clarification made that HHH made of different government, non-profit, and faith groups, that the plan didn’t come with funding, & HHH didn’t ‘manage’ the programs that were undertaken in our community.

7/12/17 – David Hewitt’s email to you clarifying philanthropic funding for the two projects was handled by the Family Housing Fund (non-profit).  The City paid the Office Director’s salary until recently, while the county paid for other team members.

7/25/17 – David Hewitt’s email to you clarifying details of the three recommendations under Goal 2 – Outreach.  It wasn’t the role of OEH to charge or fund entities and organizations but rather facilitate and coordinate.

8/7/17 – David Hewitt’s email to you that only two permanent positions fall within OEH’s budget. The Continuum of Care post and Coordinated Entry Coordinators are budgeted elsewhere within Hennepin County but are managed by the OEH.

8/23/17 – David Hewitt’s email to you, OEH was established to support the coordination of the ten-year plan implementation originally, and repeating that OEH has taken on specific functions in relation to community-wide systems (i.e. Coordinated Entry) since, while continuing to act as a strategic lead and coordination unit.

Please see Health and Human Services response to your request below:

All government data created, received, maintained or disseminated by the office to end homelessness relating to the successful implementation of the Ten Year Plan targets, identified as follows;

  1. “Change the paradigm from managing homelessness to ending it, from funding programs to investing in the community, from serving

people to partnering with people to achieve self-sufficiency.”

See annual reports:

2010 Annual Report

2011 Annual Report

2012 Five-Year Report

2014 Annual Report (already provided)

homeless-report-2015 (already provided)

  1. “Drastically reduce the number of shelter beds in our community, requiring only a few small shelters to address emergencies that cannot be resolved through prevention. People will be rapidly rehoused within two weeks.”

See annual reports.

  1. “Eliminate panhandling and other livability issues through providing prevention and outreach services. Downtown businesses will thrive as more people both move downtown and come downtown to shop, play and attend Twins games.”

See annual reports.

  • All government data and documents created, received, maintained or disseminated by the office to end homelessness documenting efforts undertaken to ensure that those charged with addressing the problem of homelessness and receiving financial remuneration for their work are reflective of the populations served.

No responsive data.

As previously stated to you, Lisa Thornquist is compiling a comprehensive ten-year report on the Ten Year Plan.  This will be provided to you upon completion.

Thank you,

Nick Schicker

Data Practices & Privacy Officer

Health & Human Services

Hennepin County

612-348-3937