Challenges of homelessness in outstate Minnesota

Deb Holman, Benny Taylor
In this Jan. 29, 2010 photo, Deb Holman, street outreach worker for Churches United in Ministry and the Human Development Center, convinces Benny Taylor, who is homeless, to spend a night at a shelter in Duluth, Minn.
Bob King/Duluth News Tribune via AP

"As the cold snap continues, advocates for the homeless say they are worried about the safety of people living without shelter in Greater Minnesota," wrote MPR News reporter Madeleine Baran this week.

Baran continued,

Liz Kuoppala, who heads the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, said in rural areas, many homeless families live in their cars. When the temperature plunges below zero, many cannot afford to keep the engine running all night to stay warm.

"We've heard from some of our outreach workers, families are making their way to all-night places like Wal-Marts or McDonalds and just kind of huddling there and trying to stay warm and then moving on to another place," Kuoppala said. "But it's really tough to stay alive outside."

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Another challenge is getting an accurate count of the homeless population outside of the Twin Cities metro area. The federal government requires states to conduct a homeless count in order to receive federal assistance, and that's more difficult in in less densely-populated areas.

Mary Ulland Evans, resource planner for Three Rivers Community Action in southern Minnesota, and Kim Randolph, stabilization services director for Churches United in Ministry and the Human Development Center in Duluth, join The Daily Circuit Friday, Jan. 25 to discuss the challenges facing the homeless in outstate Minnesota.


Cold snap could be deadly for homeless in Greater Minn. (MPR News)

Listening session on rural youth homelessness (Aitkin Independent Age)

Report on rural homelessness (GAO)