Homelessness in Dakota County

Homelessness is a real problem that can touch nearly 1,000 individuals and families on any given night in Dakota County, even though it may be less visible here than in other parts of the Twin Cities. Heading Home Dakota focuses on three populations experiencing homelessness: youth, families, and single adults. The needs of each group are unique and a one-size-fits-all approach will not be as effective as customized strategies.

Dakota County Point in Time Count: 841 People Homeless
Each year, Dakota County Continuum of Care Committee conducts a point-in-time count of persons who are homeless on one given night. The table below reports the 2011 numbers of people sheltered in emergency or transitional housing as well as those who are unsheltered, e.g., living on the street or in a car.

Dakota County - Identified Barriers to Housing: Barriers to stable housing for Dakota County's homeless population also include financial, legal, social, and domestic problems. More than half of the 2009 Wilder Research Survey on Homelessness respondents identified the lack of affordable housing and adequate income as primary obstacles to stable housing. Common legal issues include having been evicted or receiving an unlawful detainer, cited at a substantially higher level than in the statewide findings.

Financial and Legal Barriers - were reported by half of respondents

  • 58% report the lack of a job or income
  • 55% cite a lack of affordable housing. Of these, 68% can afford no more than $400/month for rent and utilities; 50% can afford $300/month
  • 51% report having received an Unlawful Detainer
  • 69% report a court order for child support, with half actually receiving support

Why Last Permanent Housing Was Lost - reasons included one or more of the following

  • 62% eviction
  • 55% lack of affordable housing
  • 52% relationship breakup
  • 42% job loss
  • 34% domestic violence (29% statewide figure)
  • 27% drugs or drinking in the house

Housing Voucher or Subsidy Needs - many people homeless in Dakota County are already on the Section 8 waiting list or have been for an extended period of time. Others cannot get on the list due to closure.

  • 69% report being on a Section 8 waiting list for subsidized housing
  • 39% report being on a Section 8 waiting list for more than one year
  • 18% report not being on a Section 8 waiting list due to list closure

Discharge from Correctional Institutions - up to 36 percent of the county's homeless surveyed have been held in a juvenile or adult correctional facility

  • 26% had been held as juveniles
  • 32% have been held as adults