Ending Homelessness - Homelessness Volunteer Opportunities
Dakota County has seen a recent increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness. During a homeless count in January of 2016, surveyors found 63 unsheltered people, up from the 51 people counted in 2015. Of those people counted, 65 percent were single, 21 percent were unaccompanied youth, and 14 percent were adult-headed families. Approximately 250 households are currently in need of housing and on the Housing Crisis Line priority wait list, including 82 families and 154 single adults and unaccompanied homeless youth.
The increase in homelessness in Dakota County stems from a variety of factors, including issues with affordable housing, financial hardships, disabilities, and medical emergencies. Data shows that more than half of all homeless people suffer from medical conditions, such as mental illness, which can make it more difficult to maintain stable housing. Emergency shelters are routinely full and have consistent waiting lists. Over the last several months, the waiting lists at two emergency shelters in Dakota County have included approximately 20 single women, 25 families, and 20 single men.
You can help us fight homelessness. Here are some ways to get involved with Dakota County:
- Volunteer with The Link. This organization serves homeless and sexually exploited youth. They have many volunteer opportunities. https://thelinkmn.org/volunteer
- Volunteer with Dakota Woodlands, a family shelter located in Eagan. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Other volunteer opportunities are available through many local non-profits through service centers and food shelves, such as 360 Communities, Neighbors Inc., The Open Door, Hastings Family Services, and The Salvation Army. Many of these organizations are always looking for volunteers and support. Contact and registration information can be found on their websites.
- Volunteer with Matrix Housing Services who operates a rotating emergency shelter that is hosted out of churches in Dakota County. Log on to their website and click the volunteer tab for more information. Visit their website at www.matrixhousingservices.org.
- Consider getting involved in Heading Home Dakota. This is a 10-year plan to end homelessness in Dakota County focusing on goals and strategies to prevent and end homelessness. There are some project specific volunteer activities through one of the committees such as survey work. The monthly meeting for this group is generally the 4th Monday of each month from 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. at Mary, Mother of the Church (3333 Cliff Rd, Burnsville). For more information, contact Rebecca Bowers at Rebecca.email@example.com.
- Search for opportunities at www.volunteermatch.org and use keywords in your search to find opportunities near you.
Know someone who is homeless? Those experiencing homelessness should be referred to the Dakota Housing Crisis Line at 651-554-5751.
Dakota County Social Services
Housing Resource Developer
Phone: (651) 554-6029