Poverty is when people’s basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter are not being met.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the 2016 American Community Survey, 10% of Minnesotans are below the poverty level, with the Metropolitan Council reporting that suburban and rural poverty in the 7-county metro area has risen significantly since the year 2000.

Financial Insecurity is the inability to meet unexpected expenses like a car repair or a medical problem.

The Minnesota Housing Partnership’s biennial report, “State of the State’s Housing 2019”, shows 1 in 4 households across Minnesota pay more than they can afford for shelter, forcing them to cut back on necessities such as food, education and medicines. Polling by NPR finds that a substantial number (40%) of rural Americans struggle with routine medical bills, food and housing; and about half (49%) say they could not afford to pay an unexpected $1,000 expense of any type.

Homelessness is: 1) people who are living in a place not meant for human habitation, in emergency shelter, in transitional housing, or are exiting an institution where they temporarily resided; 2) people who are losing their primary nighttime residence, which may include a motel or hotel or a doubled up situation and lack resources or support networks to remain in housing; 3) families with children or unaccompanied youth who are unstably housed and likely to continue in that state; and 4) people who are fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, have no other residence, and lack the resources or support networks to obtain other permanent housing.

In Minnesota, Wilder Research’s 2018 Homelessness Study concluded that homelessness increased across Minnesota by 10% from 2015 (up 9% in the Twin Cities’ metro area and up 13% in greater Minnesota). This was especially evident in the population not in a formal shelter (encampments, cars, public transportation), which was up 62% between 2015 and 2018. Wilder’s single-night count of homelessness found 10,233 people homeless in Minnesota, 32% of that number were children with parents. Children and unaccompanied youth (age 24 and younger) made up nearly half of those experiencing homelessness (46%).