Blue Earth County has approved three contracts to continue overseeing services to address homelessness and aid in providing housing in the southern Minnesota.

Phil Claussen, Human Services Director

County Officials have signed off on a contract to reauthorize the Department of Human Services to provide funding for the Southern Regional Project to End Long-Term Homelessness.

Director of Blue Earth County Human Services Phil Claussen says the program covers 20 counties across southern Minnesota to stabilize people who have experienced long-term homelessness.

“The amount of that overall grant for the 20 county region is 2.5-million dollars. It represents a 1-dollar increase from the last funding cycle. The term is January 1st of 2018 through December 31st of 2019 on that contract.”

Another project is the Hearth Connections, as Blue Earth County will act as the fiscal agent to provide supportive services for individuals and families who have been homeless for a year or more or four times over a three-year period. The contract is also for 2.5-million dollars over a two-year period.

A third contract is also with Hearth Connections and staff will partner to provide services to residents in Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Sibley and Watonwan Counties.

“Those eight counties are supplied with 434-thousand 500 dollars annually. This is a 2.2-percent decrease, it’s really just because there were some unused funds because we did over-perform on our revenues. So they even out in terms of the money.”

It’s estimated that more than 10-thousand Minnesotans experience homelessness.

“Contract negotiations between DHS, Hearth and ourselves have really taken quite a while. We’ve had a hard time, in all candor, to float this boat. The margin is real tight and it’s hard to predict how things are gonna go.”