Outcomes

Project Homeless Connect

The second St. Paul/Ramsey County Project Homeless Connect (PHC) took place on Tuesday, June 19th, 2007, at the St. Paul Armory, in downtown St. Paul. A one-stop shop model of homelessness services delivery, PHC was created in San Francisco in 2004 and has since become a nationally recognized best practice in efforts to end homelessness. With the St. Paul Police Department again taking a lead role, and with the help of a team of 226 community volunteers, the event brought together 74 service providers to offer assistance and opportunities for many of our neighbors experiencing homelessness.

Housing, employment, and dental care were the top three services sought by event participants. At the end of the day, 96% of PHC guests completing exit surveys said that it was worth their time to participate, and 96% of PHC volunteers completing exit surveys said that they thought the event was “a valuable opportunity for the participants.” 97% of service providers rated the event favorably.

A total of 815 households were served at the event, including 1,081 total people. Among households served, 89% were single or couples without children, and 11% were households with children; 3% were unaccompanied youth. Single men represented 52% of all households served at the event. The average age of heads of household was 44. Of event participants, 47% were African American, and 36% were white. Nearly half of all participants reported having a disability of long duration. Roughly 65% of participants were homeless, with 21% meeting the state’s definition of long-term homeless. 31% reported not being currently homeless or living with friends.

The majority of participants (63%) reported public benefits as a main source of income in the last month, while 33% reporting receiving no income, and 12% had income from employment (23% reported receiving General Assistance, 32% reported receiving SSI or SSDI [17% and 15%, respectively], 51% reported receiving Medical Assistance, and 46% reported receiving Food Stamps).

Minnesota’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) was used as the reporting tool for the event, and among those served, 35% were identified as having received some type of services prior to the event by a service provider participating in HMIS; 9% of participants were identified as also having received services at the previous St. Paul/Ramsey County PHC (June 19, 2006); and 3% were identified as also participating in the last Minneapolis/Hennepin County PHC (December 4, 2006).

Among the main types of services sought, the top three that participants requested help with were housing, employment, and dental care. Other requested services included: picture IDs, eye care, haircuts, education, legal assistance, medical assistance, public assistance, voicemail, and mental health services. A services summary report is available, which provides detailed descriptions of the services that were delivered. Among the highlights: 408 participants received housing services, 334 received general advocacy services, 279 received health care services, 248 received employment services, 189 received benefits and military veterans assistance, 139 received legal services, 76 received education services, 53 unaccompanied youth received youth services, and over 150 received haircuts (note: these numbers are not unduplicated counts). Additionally, donated items distributed included 1,000 backpacks, 1,000 bus cards, 1,000 $5 Target gift cards, 75 sleeping bags, and 8 bicycles.

The PHC data collection and evaluation team is currently collecting information about how connections made among service providers and PHC participants on the day of the event may have resulted in positive follow-ups leading to better service connections, and hopefully, in some cases, stable housing. Information about this effort, when it is available, will become an appendix to this report.

More summary information follows.

Who Got Help?

815 households
1,081 total people
89% (728) of households were single or couples without children
11% (87) of households were families with children
3% (25) of households were unaccompanied youth

Other Demographics of Participants

57% were male
Average age of participants: 44

47% were African-American; 36% were white; 5% were American Indian or Alaskan Native; 4% were multi-racial
14% were military veterans
48% reported having one or more disabilities of long duration

Homelessness Status of Participants

24% were homeless for the first time and were without a home for less than 1 year
21% met the state’s definition of long-term homeless
13% had been homeless multiple times, but did not meet the state’s definition of long-term homeless
27% were not currently homeless
6% were homeless but living status was unknown
4% were living with family or friends
4%: status unknown

Income of Participants

33% reported having no financial resources
17% reported receiving SSDI
15% reported receiving Social Security (including SSI and retirement)
23% reported receiving General Assistance
12% reported some form of paid employment

Other Benefits Received by Participants

51% reported receiving Medical Assistance (or Medicaid or MA)
46% reported receiving food stamps
15% reported receiving Medicare

What Types of Services Did PHC Participants Seek?

54%: Housing
42%: Employment
30%: Dental care
24%: Picture IDs
22%: Eye care
21%: Haircuts
17%: Education
16%: Legal assistance
14%: Medical care
12%: Public Assistance
12%: Voicemail
10%: Mental health services

Asked, at Exit From the Event, “What Was the Most Important Thing That You Received Today,” Participants’ Most Frequent Responses Were:

Medical care
Housing information
Backpacks/sleeping bags
Advocacy/general information
Employment information
Food/water/coffee
Legal services
Haircuts
IDs
Hygiene kits

Asked, at Exit From the Event, “How Can We Improve Project Homeless Connect,” Participants’ Most Frequent Responses Were:

Does not need improvement
Do it more often
Service providers should all stay until the end of the event
Have longer hours
More employers
More housing programs
More volunteers
Advertise more

Comments From Participants:

“Everything, including intake and exit were important. I think staff, volunteers, services, Target, exit, food services all did an outstanding job directing and helping me today.”
“[Next time have]…a larger place, more detailed information about everything, bring in some of the banks and political influences.”
“Our camp was raided, and I desperately need these services.”
“There are a lot of resources that I didn’t know about.”
“Keep having the project until nobody else is homeless.”

Prepared by Jamey Burden, Minnesota Housing, with data collection, input, and evaluation help, as well as editing help from: Vicki Farden, Minnesota Housing; Alison Legler, DHS; Beth Holger, DHS; Leah Bower, Ramsey County; Jan Pitlick, Ramsey County; Nancy Secor, DHS; Krystal Whisler, Emma Norton Services; Rhonda McCall, Minnesota Housing; Jane Lawrenz, DHS; Donna Bauer, Catholic Charities; and Diane Dube, William Mitchell College of Law.

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The first-ever St. Paul/Ramsey County Project Homeless Connect (PHC) took place on Monday, June 19th, 2006, at the St. Paul Armory, in downtown St. Paul. PHC is a “one-stop shopping” model of homelessness assistance and services delivery, which was created in San Francisco in 2004, and has since become a nationally recognized best practice in efforts to end homelessness.

Event Coordination
With the St. Paul Police Department taking a lead role, and with the help of a team of more than 250 community volunteers, the event brought together more than 70 service providers to offer assistance and opportunities for many of our neighbors experiencing homelessness.

Service Providers:
HOUSING: Catholic Charities Dorothy Day Center, Catholic Charities Mary Hall, Catholic Charities St. Christopher Place, East Metro Women’s Council, Emma Norton, Emma’s Place, Housing Link, Project Hope, Ramsey County Intake, St. Paul PHA, Union Gospel Mission – Mens, Union Gospel Mission – Naomi family, Wilder -Supportive HSG dept, Wilder ROOF Project, YWCA – Family Preservation Program, YWCA – Family Intervention Program, YWCA -Transitional Housing, Light House, Hayes-Gibson International, Teresa Living Center/Caroline Family Services, Central Community Housing Trust

HEALTH CARE: ACCESS Works – Needle Exchange, CD Assessment – Ramsey County, Hart Community Services, Inc, Health Care for the Homeless, Ramsey County Mental Health, St.Paul-Ramsey County Dept of Public Health, Westside Community Health, WIC – OFFSITE, Mental Health Resources Inc., Broadway Family Medicine, African American Family Services

VET SERVICES: Health Care for Homeless Vets, Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, Minnesota Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs, Ramsey County Vet Services

EDUCATION: Student Placement Services, Title I Homeless Program, Ramsey Community Action Program /HeadStart, People Serving People

BENEFITS: Ramsey County Financial Services, Area Agency on Aging, Social Security Administration

EMPLOYMENT: Goodwill / Easter Seals, Ramsey County Workforce Solutions Department, Wilder – Employment Services, Ira Hayes Employment, Life Track Resources, Dept Employment Economic Development, Employment Action Center,

ADVOCACY: Access, New American community Services, House Calls, Salvation Army – Project Breakthrough, X-committee, AccountAbility, St. Paul Public Library, Breaking Free, St. Paul Dept of Human Rights, Genesis II for Families

YOUTH: DHS – Child Safety, Salvation Army -Booth Browne, District 202, Lutheran Social Services – Homeless Youth, Ramsey County Child Support Enforcement Office, Streetworks/Safe Zone

LEGAL: Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Council on Crime & Justice, Immigrant Law Center, Saint Paul City Attorney, Wm Mitchell Community Development Clinic, MN Justice Foundation, SMRLS – Refugee Immigrant & Migrant Services, Faegre & Benson

SERVICE PROVIDERS: MN Dept of Public Safety, Driver & Vehicle Services, Twin Cities Voicemail, Metro Transit, St. Paul Fire Dept.

BARBERS/HAIRSTYLISTS: Rob Gibson, James Green, Bistu Herdassa, Keya Tabor

Information Gathered to Improve Homeless Services
At the end of the day, 69% of PHC participants said that they had learned about new services, and 94% said that it was worth their time to participate. Minnesota’s homeless management information system (HMIS) was used as the reporting tool for the event, and, of interest, only 28% of participants entered into HMIS for PHC had previously been entered into the system. Although two large shelter providers (Dorothy Day Center and Union Gospel Mission) are not currently using HMIS, these data do still suggest that many people were served at PHC who otherwise might not have contact with the homeless assistance system. Many of the participants were single, adult men; many were African-American; many had disabilities; many had few or no resources; and many either met, or were close to meeting, the state’s definition of long-term homelessness. The primary concern of participants was housing. Several have gotten into housing through contacts made at PHC, and many more filled out housing applications and were placed on housing waiting lists.

Who Got Help?

786 households

936 total people

82% (644) presented as single adults

11% (89) presented as families

7% (53) presented as unaccompanied youth (i.e., 21 years of age or younger; also, this number includes 4 youth 17 years of age or younger)

Other Demographics of Participants

67% were male

Average age of participants: 42

44% were African-American; 37% were white; 6% were American Indian or Alaskan Native; 2% were multi-racial; and 10% were other, unknown, or the data were missing

5% were Hispanic

12% were veterans

46% reported having one or more disabilities

Homelessness Status of Participants

29% were homeless for the first time and were without a home for less than 1 year

26% met the state’s definition of long-term homeless

12% had been homeless multiple times, but did not meet the state’s definition of long-term homeless

18% were not currently homeless

Note: Data were missing in this category for 15% of participants

Income of Participants

25% reported having no financial resources

15% reported being on SSI

13% reported receiving General Assistance

10% reported some form of paid employment

9% reported receiving food stamps

8% reported receiving Medicaid

5% reported receiving some form of TANF benefits

Note: Data were missing in this category for 25% of participants

What Types of Services Did Participants Receive?

1 got into housing (through Light House) on the day of the event, and at least 4 others who filled out housing applications on the day of the event have since gotten into housing (through YWCA)

89 were placed on housing waiting lists

305 received housing information and referrals related to housing

44 received Emergency Assistance applications

103 received legal services

72 received vouchers to receive replacement or duplicate Ids

52 received voicemail through TC Voicemail

127 received employment services

259 received health and mental health care, and 205 received information and referrals

54 received advocacy-related services, and 356 received information and referrals

90 received education services

48 received veterans’ services

Over 100 received haircuts

Metro Transit provided 1000 bus passes

Target provided 1000 $5 gift cards

2nd Harvest Heartland and The Salvation Army provided 1600 meals for participants and volunteers

Asked, at Intake, “What Are the Top Three Things That You Would Like Help With Today,” Participants’ Most Frequent Responses Were:

(1) Housing
(2) Employment
(3) Medical/dental/mental health
(4) Transportation/bus pass
(5) Benefits/medical coverage/financial assistance
(6) Legal assistance
(7) Food
(8) Clothes/shoes
(9) Education
(10) Haircut

Asked, at Exit From the Event, “What Was the Most Important Thing That You Received Today,” Participants’ Most Frequent Responses Were:

(1) Housing information
(2) Employment information/help with resume
(3) Medical/health care
(4) Lunch/food
(5) General information
(6) Legal advice
(7) Education
(8) Transportation assistance
(9) Haircut
(10) ID help

Asked, at Exit From the Event, “How Can We Improve Project Homeless Connect,” Participants’ Most Frequent Responses Were:

(1) Do it more often
(2) Keep doing it
(3) Advertise more
(4) More information of jobs/employment/more employers
(5) More resources
(6) Better/more housing resources
(7) More clothes/sleeping bags/bus passes (ran out)
(8) More transportation
(9) Air conditioning
(10) More space