Project HOPE: A New Chapter
July 23, 2015
Project HOPE has been SMRLS’ response to homelessness in Ramsey County for more than 20 years. The project is now starting a new phase. From now on, HOPE will focus on:
- Protecting the legal rights of clients working with public systems on issues of homelessness.
- Addressing legal issues that contribute to or place clients at risk of homelessness.
HOPE has started collaborating with two other nonprofits, the Neighborhood House East Side Family Center and the Community Action Program of Ramsey and Washington Counties. Together we will share a pool of direct service funding for rent, security deposits, or utility payments. When clients contact Neighborhood House and Community Action Program for funding, each agency will screen for possible legal issues. Those cases will then be sent to SMRLS for help. Examples of these cases include: denials of Emergency Assistance, other public assistance benefits, or Unemployment benefits, as well as garnishments and utility law issues. HOPE will continue to serve Ramsey County residents only.
HOPE is also adding a focus on advocacy for the rights of families with children seeking access to emergency shelter in Ramsey County. These families are placed on a waiting list that is often months long. HOPE is exploring legal remedies to improve this system to better respond to client needs.
Because of its renewed focus on legal issues, HOPE is no longer able to assist clients with housing searches. The following agencies may be able to help clients seeking landlords who will accept tenants with barriers:
- Community Stabilization Project, 651-225-8778
- Mentoring Young Adults, 651-222-7721
- Neighborhood House East Side Family Center, 651-793-7340