District 3 August Newsletter

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commissioner marion greene

August 2019

Greetings! We hope our newsletter serves as a resource for staying connected to Hennepin County activities and staying updated on county news and services. 

As always, please reach out with questions, comments, or to learn more about how to get involved.

My best,

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Funding to Prevent Opioid Deaths

Treatment for people involved with justice system

The board accepted a $937,990 grant to provide medication-assisted therapy for people with opioid use disorder.

Treatment will be offered to people who are booked into the Adult Detention Center, sentenced to the Adult Corrections Facility and diverted to the Behavioral Health Center at 1800 Chicago Avenue.

Diagnosing opioid use disorder and beginning medical treatment while in custody could have positive outcomes for people, reducing the number of deaths and the traumatic and expensive overdose-hospitalization-jail cycle that usually precedes them. This is according to the findings of a study released earlier this year by Hennepin Healthcare and Hennepin County.

Naloxone training and distribution

Hennepin County accepted additional state funding to expand access to Naloxone in the community.

Weekly walk-in hours will be increased to distribute Naloxone kits and clean syringes at the Red Door Clinic, which provides sexual health care. Additionally, staff will educate and distribute Naloxone kits to residents of Little Earth, a housing complex in Minneapolis serving the American Indian community.

Hennepin County part of NIH Research Network

Hennepin County is one of twelve National Institutes of Health (NIH) grantees for nationwide research on quality addiction treatment for opioid use disorder and misuse in criminal justice settings. The network of grantees will be called JCOIN, the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network. Through the network, Hennepin is also part of an NIH-sponsored national innovation design team. Local partners in this work are Hennepin County Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation (DOCCR), Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson and the Sheriff’s Office, and the Hennepin Healthcare System (HCMC and clinics).

Read more here.

Hennepin County's opioid response strategy

Learn more about how Hennepin County is responding to the opioid epidemic at hennepin.us/opioidresponse.


Wheelage Tax Increase to Maintain County Roads and Bridges

The board voted  to increase the wheelage tax in Hennepin County to $20 per year per vehicle, effective January 1, 2020.

The wheelage tax applies to vehicles registered at a Hennepin County address. Hennepin County has had a $10 wheelage tax since 2014.

The increase will generate about $10 million in additional revenue annually to help fund reconstruction and maintenance within the county road and bridge system, which includes 2,200 lane miles and 148 bridges.

12 other Minnesota counties also have a $20 wheelage tax including Ramsey, Carver and Washington in the metro.


Local Advisory Council on Mental Health Release Annual Unmet Needs Report

The Local Advisory Council (LAC) on Mental Health, a council charged with advising the County Commissioners, and County Administration about policy, programs and services affecting persons with a mental illness released their annual report on unment needs.

Read the LAC Unmet Needs Report by navigating here and downloading the 7/23/2019 Health and Human Services Committee agenda. 


Understanding Evictions in Hennepin County

In 2018, there were nearly 550 eviction filings in two zip codes of Brooklyn Park, the highest eviction rates in suburban Hennepin County. This is according to Hennepin County's Eviction Dashboard.

Voting last week as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the board designated $15,000 to the City of Brooklyn Park to take this research a step further. The city is embarking on a one-year study to examine what's causing evictions and how to increase housing access, stability, and quality, and reduce racial disparities.

Read more here. 


County Cleanup Support for Survival's Memorial

The board awarded a grant for contaminated soil cleanup at the site of a future memorial honoring survivors of sexual violence. Local non-profit Break the Silence is working with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to build the memorial in Boom Island Park in Minneapolis.

Read more here. 


Improving Accessibility of Sidewalks in District 3 and Beyond

The board awarded nearly fund for construction of 41 pedestrian ramps, also called curb ramps, and revisions to eight traffic control systems.

Improvements will be made along roadways in the following cities: Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Bloomington, Crystal, Eden Prairie, Hopkins, Robbinsdale.

These improvements, which meet guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), will make sidewalks more accessible to people with disabilities.

Learn more about how Hennepin County is working to make sidewalks accessible.

District 3 Profile

kc hs

Kathleen Cossette

Senior Community Health Specialist • Diversion and Recovery Team (DART)

Describe your work.

I am one of the eight staff that make-up The DART Team - the Diversion and Recovery Team; working to divert individuals from frequent run-ins with law enforcement, and over utilization of withdrawal management services and emergency departments. Additionally, DART staff support people’s recovery efforts.

DART consists of a supervisor, four case managers, two Certified Peer Recovery Specialists (CPRS) and a nurse. The DART case management team is specifically geared toward helping those who want to work on their recovery. Furthermore, DART is a Harm Reduction program; sobriety is not a prerequisite to receive DART services or to utilize the DART Wellness Recovery (drop-in) Center (WRC). People may come in altered, so long as their functioning is not overly impaired and they remain respectful.

The DART Wellness Recovery Center is specifically set-up for people experiencing chronic Substance Use Disorders (SUD) and homelessness. As a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, I operate the WRC alongside another CPRS, Eddie Wiebye. We are persons who have lived experience with chronic addiction and homelessness as well as having gone through the process of recovery and rebuilding lives worth living. As Peer Specialists, we are uniquely positioned in offering support to those who frequent our Wellness Recovery Center (WRC) because we’ve been there!

The WRC has grown in popularity the last few years. It has become known in the community as a safe, welcoming place where people can relax, grab a coffee and snack; even hangout and watch a movie. I’ve been tracking WRC statistics since spring of 2017. Two years ago, we were averaging, monthly, 40 to 50 people visiting our wellness center. However, since fall, 2018, we are seeing well over 200 people come through our doors, every month-consistently. Monday through Friday, Eddie and I are in the WRC offering peer support; connections to resources in the community and connection to DART case management services via intake coordination. As well, we facilitate three very well received peer groups a week.

What do you find most enjoyable about your work?

Seeing people get engaged in recovery efforts and begin making forward progress with their lives-committing and following through with life affirming decisions; at times, for the very first time in their lives.

What is the most challenging part of the work?

Watching people die…needlessly.

DART supervisor, Tawny Greene, reports in the eight years of DARTs existence, we have watched one person’s life tragically come to an end, each year, directly due to their SUD. In 2019, we have already lost three people to this insidious disease and the year is, yet, only half over.

Personally, I have become convinced that underneath it all, addiction is a disease of believing: “I am not enough, and I don’t matter; there is no decent future for me, why try…?” 

That being said, the most challenging aspect of my position is trying to empower our people with a sense of their own self-worth; to convince them, they in fact, “are enough; they do matter; that a future for them is possible; it is worth trying; recovery from addiction possible!”

What is one thing everyone should know about the work you do?

Until, as a culture, we all treat people suffering from Chronic Substance Use Disorders and homelessness with the dignity, respect, patience and Trauma Informed empathy-every human being should be afforded; our jobs, our efforts, in trying to get people the help they need to become successful in life will continue to be astoundingly arduous and heart breaking.

Board Briefings

You're invited. In addition to our regularly scheduled board meetings, the County Board often meets for updates on Thursday mornings. These are informal opportunities to discuss emerging issues. No decisions are made, and topics are subject to change. Board briefings occur in the board room on the 24th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center and are open to the public. Call my office to confirm briefing time and location.

Thursday, August 29

  • 9:00am-10:00am: 2020 Budget
  • 10:00am-11:00am: 2020 Census

County Calendar

Read + Ride Day at the Minnesota State Fair, August 28

Bring your library card and present it at a State Fair gate for discounted admission on Wednesday, August 28. Stop by Dan Patch Park 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for stage shows and family fun. View details on the day’s activities and events at readrideday.org.


Reading recommendations from Mary Moriarty, Hennepin County Chief Public Defender

Learn about the criminal justice system, criminal justice reform and the legacy of unjust systems of the past. View book recommendations by Chief Public Defender of Hennepin County, Mary Moriarty.


Tips to weather the Minnesota storm season

Once dangerous weather has struck, it is too late to start thinking about your plan to stay safe. View info on how to prepare for severe weather, including thunderstorms, floods, extreme heat, tornadoes and more.


Places to beat the summer heat

When the weather gets hot, it’s important to stay cool by staying indoors in air-conditioned buildings. Use this interactive map of cooling centers to stay out of the heat and stay safe. These spaces are welcome to all.

About District 3


The 3rd District serves the city of St. Louis Park, and Southwest and Downtown Minneapolis.

County Information

Contact us

Marion Greene
Commissioner, 3rd District

Elie Farhat
Principal Aide

Laura Hoffman
District Aide


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