Day centers, shelters see increase in homelessness

(ABC 6 News) – The Landing MN said they have seen an increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness coming into their day center for help.

"We have seen an increase. Right now we’re looking at numbers in the 90 range per day of individuals coming in seeking shelter," said Landing co-founder Dan Fifield.

Specifically, they have seen an increase in the number of families coming in, adding that inflation hits families experiencing homelessness the hardest.

"If you’re making minimum wage it’s really tough to make those dollars stretch," Fifield said.

Coupled with the increase in need, it’s harder for organizations to pay their bills so that they can pay it forward to struggling families.

"We still have ongoing costs. All of the nonprofits do, and it’s not getting any easier to do business."

But some say it is not just the now we need to be vigilant about. The Jeremiah Program is in its second year in Rochester. They are focused on helping single moms and their children disrupt the cycle of poverty. One major part of this is housing stabilization.

"Unstable housing or housing insecurity — you don’t have those things without food insecurity. You don’t have those things without economic security and we have to remember that they’re inter-related," said Chastity Lord, the CEO and President of The Jeremiah Program.

With the widespread impacts of inflation and lingering effects of the pandemic, more families are living paycheck to paycheck. This means it’s harder for people experiencing homelessness to stay with a friend or couch surf.

"In the past where it might’ve been like, ‘Yeah it’s fine for you to stay with us. We can help you,’ now we’re at a place where more families are being largely impacted so that ability is taken away. Making it so that we’re seeing literal homelessness more than the covert homelessness that’s a little bit harder to spot," said Ally Hantenebert, the Executive Director of the Jeremiah Program in Rochester and Southeast Minnesota.

A representative with Olmsted County said they have seen a steady increase in visits to their housing outreach center as well as the Rochester Warming Center. They are also still seeing families get evicted, a lingering effect of the eviction moratorium from the pandemic.