Unfortunately, hunger and unsheltered homelessness has increased across the state. With this increase oftentimes comes questions from citizens such as “why is there hunger and homelessness in my community?”, “where are the services for these individuals?”, “what can I do to help?”, and “what is my city doing to help?”. 

Below, Open Your Heart provides resources and strategies for leaders and community members on primary factors leading to hunger and homelessness in our communities and available resources if you or someone you know are in need.

As long as hunger and homelessness continue to exist, we must work collectively to be inclusive and supportive of our neighbors in need, at a time when they need it the most.

Understanding Homelessness - THE PRESENT LACK OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS EXACERBATED BY PAST AND CURRENT POLICIES EXCLUDING ACCESS TO PEOPLE BECAUSE OF RACE AND CLASS, AS WELL AS BY CURRENT POLICIES TO CRIMINALIZE THE TRAGEDY OF PEOPLE LIVING WITHOUT A HOME.
Single Adults experiencing homelessness

-Facts and Statistics:  

Who makes up the population of single adults experiencing homelessness?
-Personal Stories: Stories of Single Adults Experiencing Homelessness
-Actionable Steps: Equipping yourself with the Handbook of the Streets (A handbook of yearly updated resources for providers and community members to reference when supporting people who are experiencing homelessness, available for Minneapolis & Saint Paul with English, Spanish, Hmong, and Somali translations) 

Families experiencing homelessness
-Facts and Statistics: 

Who makes up the population of families experiencing homelessness? 
-Personal Stories: Stories of Families Experiencing Homelessness  
-Actionable Steps: Master List of Resources for Families from MN’s Largest Family Shelter 

Youth experiencing homelessness 
-Facts and Statistics: Who makes up the population of Youth Experiencing Homelessness?  
-Personal Stories: Stories of Youth Experiencing Homelessness (these youth are UK based but in line with stories you will hear within the US) 
-Actionable Steps: Helping Youth Find Shelter and other Necessary Services (Website Search Page, or Free Downloadable app available on iOS and Android)   

Educating ourselves on this topic allows us to recognize and combat common stereotypes, and both individual and societal biases when they appear in our work and personal lives.  

customizable and printable Resources - WHAT CAN YOU DO, WHAT CAN WE ALL DO TOGETHER? OPEN YOUR HEART TO THE HUNGRY AND HOMELESS.
Action Opportunities (Broad & Specific) - WE HAVE SUCCESSFULLY REDUCED HOMELESSNESS IN THIS COUNTRY IN THE PAST, AND WE CAN DO IT AGAIN.
Food Pantries in Minnesota
EMERGENCY SHELTERS IN MINNESOTA - fEW, IF ANY, PEOPLE CHOOSE TO BECOME HOMELESS; FEWER, IF ANY, CHOOSE TO REMAIN HOMELESS. WISHING TO NOT LIVE IN A SHELTER DOES NOT MEAN WISHING TO BE HOMELESS

Open Your Heart to the hungry and homeless people you encounter on the streets of your town. Recognize that the greatest gift you can offer is yourself: with a smile, a nod of recognition, a hello, spare change, or anything else you are comfortable sharing. 

Explore Open Your Heart’s website to learn about the incredible work going on to enrich the lives of people experiencing food insecurity and homelessness through organizations and communities across Minnesota. And, please consider donating anything you are able either as an individual or through workplace giving. Your contribution enables Open Your Heart to continue making crucial grants and other means of support to organizations in your community – making a real, lasting difference in the lives of those in need.