New leader chosen to head City and County efforts to end homelessness
Mikkel Beckmen has been hired as the Director of the Office to End Homelessness that leads Heading Home Hennepin, the joint City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County community's effort to end homelessness. Beckmen brings to the job 22 years of experience working with programs and agencies that work to prevent and end homelessness. Since 2005, he has been executive director of St. Stephen’s Human Services, where he launched a number of innovative initiatives, including a street outreach program.
Heading Home Hennepin brings together more than 120 local nonprofit organizations, as well as government agencies, faith-based alliances, businesses, and concerned citizens. The plan's success in building grassroots support and bolstering community networks has made it a model for similar initiatives nationwide.
In addition to spending nearly eight years at St. Stephen’s Human Services, Beckmen has also worked to prevent and end homelessness for the Corporation for Supportive Housing, Catholic Charities, and Salvation Army Harbor Light. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
A key goal of Heading Home Hennepin is to prevent homelessness before it starts by keeping people in housing that they have and ensuring people do not become homeless when leaving public institutions. At the same time, Heading Home Hennepin provides outreach to people who are experiencing homelessness and are unsheltered. The intention is to better serve and secure housing for people on the streets, as well as reduce livability offenses and concerns of citizens.
Heading Home Hennepin also aims to create thousands of housing opportunities, connect people to the services they need to escape homelessness, increase people’s income through education and training, and promote policies and practices that end homelessness.
Heading Home Hennepin’s efforts are showing progress despite immense challenges in the economy, and historically low housing vacancy rates. Recent successes included:
Prevention assistance provided to more than 3,000 households between 2009-2011.
More than 2,500 new housing opportunities have been created
A 40 percent reduction in street homelessness since 2010
Veterans and chronic homelessness are down 50 percent
For more information about Heading Home Hennepin visit http://www.headinghomeminnesota.org/hennepin/.
Published Mar. 8, 2013