The Minnesota Homeless Study is a point-in-time study of people experiencing homelessness across the state. It is conducted every three years on the last Thursday in October at emergency shelters, domestic violence shelters, transitional housing programs, social service agencies, encampments, and abandoned buildings.
How We Conduct the Study
The population included in this study are those who meet a federal definition of homelessness. For the Reservation Homeless Study, this definition is expanded to include those who are near homeless. The study includes two primary methods of data collection:
- Face-to-face interviews with people throughout the state (statewide and reservation studies)
- A count of people experiencing homelessness (statewide study only)
Wilder Research works closely with homeless service providers to get counts of all people staying in shelter settings on the night of the study, and to help coordinate face-to-face interviews with those staying at these shelters. Wilder also partners with service providers and homeless outreach workers to conduct interviews at drop-in service locations and to conduct street outreach.
Interviews conducted by trained volunteers
Interviews are conducted by more than 1,000 volunteer interviewers in over 300 locations across Minnesota. Wilder Research staff provide training to interviewers in preparation for the study. More than 4,000 interviews are done with people experiencing homelessness; respondents who complete an interview are given $10 cash as a thank you for participating.
The instrument used to conduct the interviews is extensive and has grown since the study began. Questions have been identified by housing advocates, policymakers and state planners, funders, and researchers who develop the study. Where possible, standard questions are used that have been tested elsewhere.
Note: Permission to download and copy this instrument is granted for private, non-commercial and education purposes only. All reproductions of the instrument or its individual questions require an acknowledgement of the source and author of the work. No resale use may be made of any report without written permission.
Wilder Research. (2018). Minnesota statewide survey of persons without permanent shelter interview schedule. https://www.wilder.org/wilder-research/research-library/minnesota-statewide-survey-persons-without-permanent-shelter
Additional data sources
Other sources of information that complement our understanding of homelessness include:
- An annual point in time (PIT) count of “sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single night during the last ten days in January,” required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), which includes client information compiled by all providers of federal and state funded supportive housing and emergency shelter