Housing and services for people experiencing homelessness

When we think of housing for the homeless, the first thing that often comes to mind are emergency shelters. Emergency shelters, however, are just one type of housing.
Because homelessness is an issue that cannot be solved with temporary emergency shelter, cross-sector collaborations work to address homelessness in our community. Heading Home Ramsey is a collaboration that includes local government, non-profit service providers, schools, and people who have experienced homelessness. The group plans and provides services that meet the varied needs of people experiencing homelessness, from help finding an apartment, financial assistance, or chemical, physical, or mental health services.
This story shares information about the annual Housing Inventory Count (HIC), that counts the beds available by type of services provided. It shows our capacity to address need and provide housing. People needing housing apply through the coordinated entry system, which assesses need and vulnerability and matches people to available housing. There are waiting lists as we lack capacity to meet the need.

Emergency Shelter

Emergency shelter is commonly referred to as homeless shelters. Ramsey County has shelters for single adults, families, and youth. Some are available year-round and some beds are only available seasonally. Some emergency shelter, especially for families in the winter, are vouchers for hotel rooms.
These data include all emergency shelter.

Longer Term Housing

Three other types of housing are counted in the HIC. Each provide longer-term solutions to homelessness than emergency shelters. While many people experiencing homelessness may just need a lower cost housing option, some people need ongoing supportive services or financial assistance to maintain housing. The three housing types shown in the chart below provide different types of on-going assistance. Since 2016, total beds in these programs have increased by six percent, which is not enough to meet the need.
Permanent Supportive Housing is rental housing with services either provided on-site or by a community agency. In addition to rental subsidies, these services may include case management, mental health care, life skills training, employment assistance, and social or recreational programming. Some programs are for the long-term or chronically homeless, which is defined as being homeless for a year or more or being homeless four or more times in the last three years. Most of these programs are for people with a disability, including mental illness. People can remain in these programs as long as they are eligible.
Rapid Rehousing programs are shorter-term services for people not needing intensive support. They include financial assistance with rent, as well as housing search assistance and help resolving common barriers to renting like poor credit, low income, or expungement of criminal records.
Transitional Housing programs provide housing for up to 24 months and services are meant to help people move to independent living. Services may include child care, job training, or drug or alcohol treatment or support.
  • Permanent supportive housing beds increased by 29% since 2017, with a 40% increase in beds for single adults and a 16% increase in beds for families with children.
  • Rapid rehousing beds decreased by 8% since 2017, but with a decrease of 30% for single adults and a 16% decrease for families with children.
  • Transitional housing beds have remained the same since 2017 overall, with a 38% increase in beds for families with children but a 47% decrease in beds for single adults.

Special Populations

There are five special populations for whom housing options are targeted by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development: people with HIV/AIDS, survivors of domestic violence, veterans, people experiencing chronic homelessness, and youth ages 18 to 24. The chart on the left shows the number of beds for these groups by type of program. Use the filter to view other program types.

Housing Inventory Count Data

Note that special population beds are also included in the single adult, adults with children, and only children counts and cannot be added across to equal total beds. Single adult, adults with children, and only children can be added to reach the total beds.

Homelessness in Context

Learn more about what the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area and Minnesota are doing to address housing supply and affordability.

Find resources available for people experiencing housing instability or homelessness in Ramsey County