December Heading Home Hennepin Newsletter



December 2022

Heading Home Hennepin Newsletter

In this issue:

  • Introducing Hennepin Shelter Hotline
  • Point in Time Count is approaching

  • Supportive Housing Strategy RFP
  • 38th Annual Homeless Memorial March and service
  • Severe cold warming options
  • Help spread the word about a new newsletter

Introducing Hennepin Shelter Hotline 

A new shelter diversion service helping residents find alternatives to emergency shelter  

In January, Hennepin County and Catholic Charities Twin Cities will launch Hennepin Shelter Hotline, a new shelter diversion service to help residents find alternatives to emergency shelter.  

An improved system for residents  

Hennepin Shelter Hotline will provide a single point of entry for any person 18 and older who seeks emergency shelter. Families, single adults, and youth who call the hotline will be connected to a trained specialist. From there, the specialist will work to understand what’s causing someone’s housing crisis and explore what immediate solutions may be possible. Some options may include:  

  • A negotiated return to their previous housing 
  • Short-term, non-shelter accommodation, such as staying with friends or family  
  • Apartments or homes, (including housing in a different location)  

‘Diversion’ is a nationally recognized best practice meant to prevent someone from entering the shelter system. The idea is to immediately get the resident into a safe, appropriate alternative to shelter, which may be short- or long-term. If emergency shelter is needed, however, the specialist will guide residents through appropriate next steps.  

Multiple organizations will play different roles in one cohesive network of support.  

Hennepin Shelter Hotline, which is operated by Catholic Charities Twin Cities, works as a first step service in partnership with existing services, such as Adult Shelter Connect, the Hennepin County shelter Team, and other crisis lines so that residents who are facing a housing emergency are able to explore all their options before accessing emergency shelter.   


Details and next steps:  

  • The new service will launch the first week of January  
  • Hennepin Shelter Hotline will be operated by Catholic Charities Twin Cities
  • The hotline phone number will be released once the program is operational  
  • A communications kit for shelters and other partners who provide direct service to residents when the service launches in early January. This will include the hotline phone number and any other important details to share with residents  


Questions? Get in touch.  

If you have any questions about this change or the timing of the rollout, please reach out to Erin Wixsten at  

Point in Time Count is approaching

The 2023 Point in Time Count will kick off on the evening of January 25th. The goal of the point in time count is to understand the depth and breadth of homeless in Hennepin County. This year, Wilder research is assisting Hennepin County with the implementation of the count. Additional help is still needed - we are looking for volunteers to fill important roles for this year’s point in time count.

Volunteer to be a site coordinator

In this role you will coordinate surveys at a site where unsheltered people go like hot meal programs, drop-in centers, opportunity centers, and libraries. If you are interested, please reply to Jenna Tomlinson at and she will follow-up.

Volunteer to be a surveyor

In this role you will count people staying in cars or other unsheltered locations or conduct surveys at community sites. Both overnight and daytime shifts are available.  All volunteers are required to attend a training on either January 10 or January 12. If you can’t attend an online training live, please still click the link and follow the instructions provided. Register here.

Street outreach providers

Wilder Research and Hennepin County staff will be reaching out to homeless outreach teams that work with people experiencing unsheltered homelessness to schedule a separate. We will reach out, but feel free to follow-up with to ensure we have your contact info.

Emergency shelter providers

Agencies that operate emergency shelters, transitional housing, or safe haven programs on the night of the PIT should review Point-in-Time Count Materials — Minnesota's HMIS (


Jenna Tomlinson:

Website: Point in Time Count | Hennepin County

Supportive Housing Strategy RFP

Anticipated timeline: Posted January 4, proposals due February 16

Hennepin County's Supportive Housing Strategy has over $6 million available through a separate RFP.

Now in its fifth year, the Supportive Housing Strategy offers capital funding and technical assistance to incentivize the development of long-term affordable supportive housing. This type of housing serves some of our most vulnerable residents, including those with a combination of extremely low-incomes and other conditions or challenges to stable housing.

In 2023, Hennepin County will be seeking proposals that serve the following priority populations:

  • People with a disability and a level 3 predatory offense
  • People with mental illness leaving treatment
  • People with severe substance use disorders

Projects serving the priority population groups targeted in 2019 through 2022 are also eligible for the 2023 Supportive Housing RFP.

Learn more about the priority population groups and the Supportive Housing Strategy on our website.

Save the date: Information session

Learn more about the programs included in this year's RFPs at an open information session:

  • Wednesday, January 11
  • 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
  • A link to join the meeting will be provided in the forthcoming RFP notice, which will be sent out via email on January 4th

The session will include information regarding the Coordinated RFP and Supportive Housing Strategy RFP, as well as information on a separate RFP process for the Transit Oriented Development program, which has an anticipated release date in early February 2023. 

Hennepin County will also be opening an RFP for current Housing Support (formerly known as GRH) providers wishing to be awarded more ‘slots’ to create new site-based supportive housing in the community. The anticipated release date is January 2023. More details about this program can be found at our website and will be discussed at the information session on January 11. 

38th Annual Homeless Memorial March and Service  

Thursday, December 15, 2022

5:00 p.m. | Vigil and Silent March 

March route begins and ends at Plymouth Congregational Church, looping through Loring Park.  

6:00 p.m. | Service of Remembrance Service will also be livestreamed on Stay for coffee, hot cocoa, and cookies after the service.

Severe cold warming options

When the temperature or wind-chill become dangerously low, there are options to seek refuge.

Learn more:

Help spread the word about a new newsletter 

Engagement opportunities for people who have faced or are currently facing homelessness.

The Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness is building a new newsletter list to share opportunities for people who have faced or are currently facing homelessness to share their input, ideas, and expertise. Interested individuals can sign up for the newsletter by filling out this form. We will share a range of opportunities in this newsletter from state agencies and partner organizations and the newsletter will be sent out as opportunities are available. Please email if you have any questions. 

The Heading Home Hennepin monthly newsletter aims to be a resource for the community of individuals that work to increase housing stability for residents of Hennepin County. Share feedback here. 

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