Pilot program to aid homeless begins today

MARSHALL – There are more than 40 different programs available in southwest Minnesota that deliver aid to people who have lost their homes because of eviction, are living with friends or family, have no utilities in their homes or are sleeping in their cars. The trouble is finding out which to go to for help for specific situations.

As of today, a new pilot program will attempt to make the process a lot simpler.

The Southwest Minnesota Continuum of Care, a regional planning group in cooperation with the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, has established intake points with seven agencies operating in the 18 counties of southwest Minnesota.

The new system is a requirement of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“The agencies will do assessments,” said Justin Vorbach, SW MN Continuum of Care coordinator, “so rather than people who need help going from agency to agency to agency they will have one intake point, where they can refer them to the appropriate program, and so they don’t have to keep repeating their story again and again.”

Vorbach said the program will have one common assessment form, making it easier to refer clients to the appropriate agency, resulting in greater efficiency.

The intake point for Lyon and Lincoln counties will be the Western Community Action office in Marshall.

Potential clients in Yellow Medicine County will be the Prairie Five Community Action office in Montevideo.