|“Sending someone on to their new home gets EVERYONE excited at Avivo Village,” shares David Jeffries, Avivo Village program director. “All of us gather around and cheer when we hear the sound of the bell that rings each time someone finds housing.”
With winter approaching, Avivo continues to work with Hennepin County partners as we address concerns around metro encampments and grow our work and services at Avivo Village. It’s been 10 months since opening our doors, and we have been at our capacity of 100 for the past several months.
Highlights as of October 31, 2021:
- 99 residents living at Avivo Village in October
- 216 individuals have been served since opening
- 38 people are permanently housed
- 24 of 38 people found housing within an Avivo housing program
- 84% of people served identify as black, Indigenous or people of color
- 18 different tribal affiliations are represented
- 100% of people served have been homeless and living on the streets for a minimum of one year
- 21-64 years is the age range of people served
- 91 days is the average stay in order to find permanent housing
Avivo Village Services
Programming is facilitated 24/7 by creative and resourceful Avivo Village staff. Activities like Poetry Slams and Decorate Your Window for Halloween, in addition to other community-building and arts programming, engage residents in community living. Health care services continue to be critical. Avivo works with three medical providers in addition to having nursing services on site: Native American Community Clinic, Healthcare for the Homeless, and Sage Prairie.
Avivo Village continues to provide:
- Housing case management
- Chemical health and mental health assessments
- Nursing services on site by a nurse practitioner
- COVID-19 testing and vaccinations
- Medication Assisted Treatment services
- HIV testing and education
- Employment services
- Daily groups and activities
The dignity behind Avivo Village data
In 10 months, Avivo staff members have implemented a low-barrier, COVID-19 safe transitional shelter model that serves individuals with the most challenging concerns around homelessness in Hennepin County. The individuals face no barriers to moving into shelter. They have been chronically homeless, living unsheltered, and have fallen through many safety nets. After an initial intake, most residents spend their first three days sleeping in their own tiny homes to catch up on chronic sleep deprivation. Then, staff begin developing relationships and connecting them with the full continuum of services. It’s about stability first, connection to health care next, and then working on their personal roads to permanent housing. Our team has developed tremendous capacity to work with people exhibiting a wide spectrum of mental illnesses with needs to connect to medical or psychiatric interventions for success. The dignity of their own personal spaces and the COVID-19 mitigations make a world of difference! We have had no COVID-19 outbreaks at Avivo Village.
Avivo Village gets individuals housed, faster
So far, the average time it takes for an Avivo Village resident to find housing is 90 days. This is a significant reduction in time to house individuals who are unsheltered when you compare it to the process of working with an individual who moves from shelter to shelter, encampment to encampment. As people move out, residents quickly move in. In addition to working with all Hennepin County street outreach providers, having Avivo’s opioid street outreach team on site increases access to Avivo Village. For individuals who are not ready for permanent housing, Avivo Village is connecting them to next steps through service partners like Catholic Charities; some receive critical, medical and psychiatric interventions and supports.
We continue to be proud of our strong and growing relationship with our North Loop neighbors and members of the North Loop Neighborhood Association. We joined a cleanup day that included cleaning graffiti from a neighborhood bridge. We held a virtual get-to-know-Avivo with council-member-elect Michael Rainville. Avivo’s Emily Bastian has met with many other leaders on the innovative shelter model, including Senator Aric Putnam who represents the St. Cloud area including Benton, Stearns and Sherburne Counties.
Opportunities & Funding Needs
We continue to work with city, county, and state representatives to address the crisis of unsheltered homelessness in our city and county. We are working with our partners to renew public funding that has been critical to partially supporting Avivo Village operations. We also must continue to raise funds from philanthropy and private sources to support the robust service model at Avivo Village.
Questions? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Emily Bastian, Avivo’s Vice President of Ending Homelessness.