Shedding Light on Family Homelessness


Project Home will soon reach 20 years of faithful service to families facing homelessness.

By Sara Liegl, Director, Project Home

So how’s business these days?

I was recently asked if we still had much business at Project Home. At first, I was baffled by the question. Project Home is operating at capacity, all 40 beds in our family shelters are full, and our wait list is long. The volunteer was surprised since he heard a new shelter had opened in downtown Saint Paul recently. That was my “ah ha!” moment. Since I work daily with families facing homelessness and the many service agencies that support their journey towards stability, I forget that not everyone understands the complex response system that serves all the various populations. Different shelters serve different groups. While some shelters serve single men and women, Project Home focuses on stabilizing families.

Shedding light on an invisible crisis

Family homelessness is an invisible crisis. You don’t often see families with small children holding cardboard signs asking for help on busy street corners. However, whether publicly visible or not, the numbers of local families experiencing a housing crisis is increasing. In October 2015, Wilder Research conducted the triennial Minnesota Homelessness Study. The study found 9,312 people experiencing homelessness statewide – a 9 percent decrease from the previous study in 2012. Unfortunately, when you dive deeper into local numbers, the story is not as positive. Ramsey County was one of only two counties that saw an increase. On the night of the 2015 survey, 1,787 people in Ramsey County were experiencing homelessness – a 14% increase over the previous study. The number of Ramsey County families facing homelessness actually increased 17% between 2015 and 2012.

Looking back at 20 years and moving ahead

Project Home will soon reach 20 years of faithful service in the community. While we lift up the work of so many volunteers over the years, we also acknowledge the need to evaluate the past to improve the future. Until there is an end to family homelessness, our work is not complete. We have a responsibility to serve families to the best of our ability. Project Home is currently undergoing an in-depth program evaluation, and staff are excited to see the results and develop change. Sometimes improvements come with a price tag, and we ask for your support.

The Eugene U. and Mary F. Frey Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation has generously offered a 1:1 match up to $12,000 for any new or increased donation to Project Home. Please consider making a gift today.

To learn more about Project Home, please contact:

Sara Liegl
Director, Project Home