Families with children, single moms or dads, the disabled or households with minors are the focus of the Dakota County Supportive Housing Unit. The government backed agency deals with housing issues. There is a reactive approach (in assisting the homeless) as well as pro-active process (in helping people close to eviction or foreclosure).
Case managers from the Unit can refer people to emergency shelter. The centers will be for the homeless and people looking for a place to sleep in the Hastings Minnesota region. Dakota County Supportive Housing Unit will also try to address other needs of the client. They may give them basic medical care, enroll the shelter guest into mental health services, or substance abuse counseling if applicable. There will also be education, enrollment into Head Start, and job training for homeless individuals.
When leaving the shelter site in Dakota County, clients can access the on-site Housing locator Services. There is support such as Community Case Management or eventual placement into Permanent as well as Transitional Supportive Housing. All of this is stressed as a shelter is only a short term solution; long term placement needs to take place.
Through its federal government backed Rapid Rehousing Program, the Dakota County Supportive Housing Unit helps homeless individuals and families secure permanent housing as quickly as possible. As noted above, there is a focus on those residents with children. Not all people will qualify, as the reason why the person is homeless needs to be addressed to. The objective of the rapid rehousing program is to first identify families in Dakota County who do not face significant barriers to housing and then help such clients successfully transition into a new home or apartment.
Relocation and stabilization services are available for residents of the program. This may also be available for people on the local emergency shelter who are in need of only temporary assistance to maybe come up with the money to pay a security deposit. Case management services are provided for a limited time to these residents once they move into permanent housing as well.
Dakota County Supportive Housing Unit foreclosure counseling will involve the homeowner meeting with a specialist. Based on these efforts, a proposal is developed and presented to the lender’s attorney. The service, which will have no or a minimal cost, will help Hastings Minnesota residents who are at risk of losing their current housing to a foreclosure diversion program or a sheriff’s sale. The assistance is available to deal with a civil action of the Court of Common Pleas.
A housing counselor from Dakota County Supportive Housing Unit prepares the homeowner for a civil court Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement Conference. This is often attended by the bank, the lender’s attorney, as well as the client who will bring along their pro bono attorney representing the homeowner.
During this sessions, there will be a full review of loan documents. The proposal will involve exploring all available options, such as requesting loan modification, how to bring the mortgage current, mediation and proposing a plan for repayment for the mortgage.
Sometimes evictions can be caused by unpaid heating or energy bills. In these cases, staff from the Dakota County Supportive Housing Unit refer people to the winter crisis portion of the Low-Income-Home-Energy Assistance Program, also known as EAP. Appointments are required except for residents already without service as they can qualify for emergency help. When the enrollment period starts, residents should visit the agency’s office on a weekday at 8 a.m. to fill out the necessary documentation. Or they can get other information on EAP in Minnesota.
This one time utility bill assistance program helps income-eligible Dakota County residents secure financial assistance to heat their home during the winter months. There is a focus on individuals with a disability or the elderly too. It can also help with cooling costs during the summer. EAP is designed for residents who are facing the disconnection of their gas or electric service, have had such service disconnected, or have less than a 10-day supply of bulk fuel.
This is mostly a referral service from the Dakota County Supportive Housing Unit. Anyone that is homeless, or close to it, can dial (651)287-0956.