Contacts: Matt Liable, City of Minneapolis, 612-673-2786
Maria Elena Baca, Hennepin County, 612-348-7865
Mikkel Beckmen is the new head of City and County efforts to end homelessness
New director of Heading Home Hennepin brings more than 20 years of experience preventing and ending homelessness
March 8, 2012 (MINNEAPOLIS) 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 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.
“Ending homelessness has been a top goal of the City of Minneapolis for a decade, and we need the dedication and collaboration of the entire community to get this done,” said Mayor R.T. Rybak. “This effort also requires a leader with exceptional experience and commitment and Mikkel brings more than 20 years of dedication, experience and leadership in working to get people off the streets and into homes and I’m excited he’s on board to lead this effort.”
"Mikkel is exactly the right person to drive the next phase of our city-county-community partnership to end homelessness, said Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman. “After nearly two decades of work on solutions to ending poverty and homelessness, Mikkel has been at the forefront of best practices, ending homelessness for thousands of individuals and families in our community. He knows we can end homelessness by creating public-private partnerships and by working alongside people who are experiencing homelessness themselves. Mikkel's vision for our community is compelling. His personal commitment is inspiring. I couldn't be more enthusiastic about the future work of Heading Home Hennepin under Mikkel Beckmen's leadership."
“Heading Home Hennepin is a national model of success and where we've focused our efforts and resources, we've seen real results,” said City Council Member John Quincy, who sits on the board of Heading Home Hennepin. “Even with this success we still have a long ways to go, and bringing on Mikkel, with his extensive experience in uniting various government, non-profit and community partners will be a tremendous asset in our efforts to end homelessness in our community.”
“My entire career has been devoted to programs serving the homeless and getting people off the streets,” said Beckmen. “Much of the work I have been a part of in recent years has been connected to the goals of Heading Home Hennepin. I’m extremely encouraged by the success the initiative has already had and I look forward to working with all of our partners and building on the progress that’s been made toward ending homelessness by 2016.”
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