City working with partners to reduce homelessness among veterans

Keys for Heroes program opening doors

Minneapolis has joined a statewide program to help reduce homelessness among veterans. Since the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs launched the Minnesota Homeless Veteran Registry in 2014, it has housed 1,218 homeless veterans – 613 in Hennepin County. Minneapolis* and Hennepin County have the highest concentration of homeless veterans in the state.

The Minnesota Homeless Veteran Registry ensures that veterans experiencing homelessness have access to appropriate housing and services. When a veteran joins the registry, a team of housing and service professionals convenes to find the best resources and housing options available to support that veteran, and in some cases, the veteran’s family. Currently 110 homeless veterans in Hennepin County are on the registry actively engaging with service providers and community partners to establish a housing stability plan.

More than one-third of veterans currently on the registry have funding sources in place to cover rent but haven’t been able to find a landlord willing to rent to them because they may have blemished rental histories, or they may have criminal histories. That’s where Keys for Heroes comes in. If a landlord participates in Keys for Heroes, the City may be more flexible on enforcement related to the tenant.

Anyone who served in the U.S. armed forces, Army Reserve or National Guard can join the registry regardless of the type of discharge. Homeless veterans or their representatives are encouraged to call 1-888-LinkVet (1-888-546-5838) or complete the application online to join the registry.

*Numbers of homeless veterans in Minneapolis are not tracked, but it is estimated that most of the homeless veterans in Hennepin County are in Minneapolis.