The Ally Supportive Services Aspires to End Homelessness in Dakota County
Families and individuals are struggling to find food and shelter during these cold, unprecedented times. Ally Supportive Services provides housing and assists people in need of help.
Ally Services, founded by Amber Hanson and Nathan Tonnancour in 2013, seeks to provide safe, affordable housing and resources for homeless people in Dakota County. They have helped about 1,322 people.
At Ally Services, they have seen an increase in mental health symptoms during Covid, and many people have to leave their homes. The team has been “working non-stop” and is reaching out to people constantly. Fortunately, Hanson and her team can meet with people by keeping their distance and following all guidelines. They have not had any trouble accessing their resources during Covid either.
The Ally Targeted outreach process includes a homeless outreach phone line where people out on the streets can contact when in need of assistance. Through this process they have helped 13 individuals. They reported that 30% of the individuals were unsheltered, and 30% were couch-hopping —meaning homeless people are moving between shelters or homes frequently.
Lately, Ally Supportive Services is noticing that there has been a “significant amount of African America people” becoming homeless. In a report, they noted that 39/130 individuals are black. They are supported by the Housing Support program in Dakota County. Hanson says she “hopes to see a permanent shelter system [put in place].”
The report also stated that “most black unsheltered residents avoid potential for police contact” and “avoid tent camping, flying signs, and staying in areas where they might get noticed and have potential police contact.”
The staff at Ally Services has helped create a diverse team, and they want to bring communities together to combat this problem. They have partnered with Dakota County to help reach out to more people of color. Woodland shelters have been built for families beyond Dakota County, such as Ramsey County and Hennepin Center.
Ally Supportive Services wants to “reduce the stigma of being homeless.” The more people talk about this and contribute to this problem a change will occur. If someone knows anyone that is struggling or sees someone out on the streets, they can report it to Ally Services, and they will check it out to make sure the person is ok.
If someone is concerned about a young adult that is homeless, they can can check out the Youth Services Network which will tell someone what to do and where to contact a youth specialist. Here is the website: https://www.ysnmn.org/
Ally Supportive Services encourages students and people to donate to local food shelves such as 360 Communities. Students can also check out the C.O.R.E Drop In Center if they want to donate any items or clothing. Please check out the website here: