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How Delancey Street Services Solves Homelessness

Oct 13, 2021

We told you a little bit about Delancey Street Services in our last post on reducing homelessness. Here, we take a deeper dive into how the program works, and what makes it so effective.

Since 2003, Delancey Street Services has aimed to take down chronic homelessness in the Twin Cities area. Using a Housing First approach, Delancey Street helps individuals find a place to live and access the support services they need to help them keep their housing and meet their goals.

Housing First

“Housing First” means connecting people experiencing homelessness to housing without imposing conditions on them first, like sobriety, employment, or enrollment in services. 

“This model recognizes that housing/shelter is a basic human need which must be met before people can be fully successful in any other area of life such as physical health or mental health.” says Lily, Program Manager for Delancey Services.

The model is effective because it tackles the actual problem behind homelessness: the refusal of our society to see housing as a basic human right.

Connecting to Tools

The next step after finding an affordable place to live is accessing the services people need to meet their needs and goals. The Delancey Team works with individuals to determine what services they need to meet their goals, such as mental health, physical health, employment, education, or other services. 

“The Delancey Team collaborates in an effort to help clients towards their goals while meeting them where they’re at,” says Ethan, Case Manager on the Delancey team.

Support Along the Way

One of the most important things about the Delancey team is that they are there to support clients in their transition from homelessness to being housed. That means clients have a team member walking alongside them and ready to help them through whatever barriers they may face. 

“Our teams have the ability to engage with people and build trust for as long as it takes them to feel comfortable,” says Lily. Receiving ongoing services and care is what helps individuals avoid experiencing homelessness in the future.

It works because it addresses the barriers to getting and keeping housing. And, it addresses individuals’ needs. “There is a high need for programs that provide this type of service as it is highly effective and needed to serve the most vulnerable populations,” says Lily.

Our Services Change Lives

Delancey Street Services works hard to lift our clients from homelessness. Want to support our work? Donate now!



Housing First in Permanent Supportive Housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.