Homeless Awareness

What do we mean by homeless?
We have adopted the definition used for the Minnesota Homelessness Survey in 2006, which is:

A person living in emergency shelter, transitional housing, a battered women’s shelter or safe home, on the street, or in any other place not meant for human habitation.

Carlton County Overview of Homelessness

For the most recent information and data on homelessness in Minnesota, see the Statewide Homeless Study Results.

On the night of the 2006 Statewide Homelessness Survey, there were 71 homeless persons counted in Carlton County.  Of those persons, 44 were unsheltered and 27 were sheltered.  Thirty-two (45%) of the homeless were children or youth.

While ambitious efforts were made to count homeless individuals and families on this date, the numbers above reflect an under-count of homeless people in Carlton County because they did not include a complete scan of all locations where homeless persons might have been located in the County.  Additionally, even though doubling-up with families and friends is common in Carlton County due to the lack of emergency shelter and transitional housing resources, persons who are doubled up do not meet HUD’s definition and therefore were not counted as part of the Statewide Survey.


Fond du Lac Reservation Overview

One hundred persons that were homeless or near-homeless were interviewed on the Fond du Lac Reservation at the time of the Statewide Homeless survey. Ten persons who were interviewed had no housing, and the others were living in substandard or overcrowded housing.  The average number of people/household was 5.43.  The households that were interviewed included 76 children with their parents.


Overview of Persons at Risk in Carlton County

Those who are at most risk for homelessness in Carlton County include:

Persons with impending foreclosure

  • Carlton Sheriff sales in 2005 – 41 (MN County Sheriff’s Sales)
  • Carlton Sheriff sales in 2006 – 46
  • Carlton Sheriff sales in 2007 – 62 (17 more than projected)
  • Carlton Sheriff sales projected in 2008 – 136

Persons living in poverty

  • Percent of persons living at or below the poverty rate in Carlton County is 12% (US Census, 2000)
  • Current percent of persons in Carlton, Aitkin, Mille Laces, Kanabec and Pine Counties living at or below the poverty rate is 11% (2006 American Community Survey)

Persons who can’t afford housing

  • It is estimated that 48% of renters in Carlton County are unable to afford a 2-bedroom apartment at fair market rent
  • 529 people are paying over 30% of income in rent
  • The wage needed to afford a 2-bedroom apartment is $10.67/hour ($3.19 over the estimated mean wage for renters in Carlton County)

Overview of Persons at Risk on the Fond du Lac Reservation
Those most at risk for homelessness on the Fond du Lac Reservation include:

Persons living in poverty

  • Percent of persons living at or below the poverty rate on the Fond du Lac Reservation is 14% (US Census, 2000)

Persons who can’t afford housing

  • The average amount that youth 21 or younger could pay for housing was $234.62/month.
  • The average amount that adults 22 or older could pay for housing was $265.15.
  • The average amount that parents with children could pay for housing was $316.18/month.

Persons who can’t find housing

  • 93% of survey respondents are currently looking for housing.
  • 100% said “if they could find or afford their own housing, not shared with friends or extended family”, they would take it.
  • 14% identified their housing as substandard including 17% that had no central heating system.

Unmet Needs in Carlton County
The Carlton County Housing Task Force, Carlton Collaborative’s Growing Up Healthy Coalition and the Carlton County Mental Health Advisory Committee have identified the following unmet needs in Carlton County and on the Fond du Lac Reservation:

  • 200 people are on the waiting list for Family Choice Vouchers (Section 8) at the Cloquet/Carlton Housing and Redevelopment Authority.  The current waiting list is at least six months.
  • As of November 2006, there were 200 households on the waiting list for reservation-provided housing.
  • 265 adult victims were assisted by the Carlton County Domestic and Sexual Abuse Program between July 2005 and June 2006.
  • 250 children were assisted by the Carlton County Domestic and Sexual Abuse Program during this time period. Of these, 55 were under the age of 5.
  • 6-8 homeless youth/month from Carlton County contact Lakes and Pines Community Action seeking assistance with housing and other needs.

Priorities for Ending Homelessness in Carlton County
The Carlton County Housing Task Force has identified the following priorities:

  • Emergency shelter options for families;
  • Bridges rental subsidies for persons with mental illness who are on the waiting list for Section 8;
  • New and creative housing options for persons with mental illness;
  • Additional rental subsidies for individuals and families experiencing long-term homelessness;
  • Additional homeless prevention resources;
  • More affordable rental housing;
  • Housing options for homeless youth, including home-sharing options, and
  • Resource person/agency to assist people to maintain or find housing.

New Resources Being Planned for Carlton County
Fond du Lac Supportive Housing:
This new housing project being developed by the Fond du Lac reservation will provide 21 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless families and 3 units for homeless individuals.  Supportive services will be provided by Fond du Lac Human Services and other providers.

Emergency Shelter:
The Carlton County Collaborative for Families and Children received a grant from the Blue Cross an Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota to develop emergency shelter resources for families.  This project is in the planning stage.


Carlton County Action Plan

Goal 1:  Prevent New Episodes of Homelessness
Goal 2:  Provide Coordinated Outreach and Expand Access Points to Housing and Services
Goal 3:  Develop Housing Opportunities/Shorten Length of Homelessness and Rapidly Re-house in the most permanent arrangement
Goal 4:  Increase Supports for Homeless People
Goal 5:  Engage the Community in Ending Homelessness

 

Click here to see the full Carlton County Plan to end Homelessness 2010 and Resources

Click here to see Full Report, Resources, Action plan steps and partners