Wilder Research has conducted a statewide study of homelessness since 1991.

The study is a point-in-time survey of people throughout the state who meet the federal definition of homelessness. It includes counts and estimates of the number of people who are homeless, and a survey of homeless people. The survey 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. About two-thirds of the interviews take place in the Twin Cities area.

The information gathered from the survey is the primary source of descriptive data on the causes and circumstances of people who become homeless and is the only source of data on homeless people not in some type of shelter. Findings are used to provide an accurate picture of homelessness in Minnesota and to promote efforts to create permanent, affordable housing for all Minnesotans.

The statewide survey grew out of a survey of homelessness first conducted in Saint Paul in 1984. Since its inception, the study has relied on the efforts of service providers, homeless advocates, government agency workers, and volunteers to successfully plan and conduct the face-to-face interviews. It is funded by a private-public partnership including the State of Minnesota and private foundations. We also receive help from corporations, who provide volunteers and in-kind donations.

A companion study is conducted on Minnesota Indian reservations, and in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Greg Owen

What have we learned from 30 years of studying homelessness in Minnesota?
by Greg Owen

Wilder Research completed its first study of homelessness in St. Paul in 1984. It was a period when homelessness became more prevalent due to a national recession, the closing of psychiatric hospitals, the demolition of inferior housing as part of federal urban renewal, and reductions in federal domestic funding. Read more.