Stevena Troupe, former participant in Wilder Supportive Housing Services

Stevena Builds a Stable Life with Wilder Youth Supportive Housing Services

Before Stevena Troupe moved into Lincoln Place in July 2019, she had slept in her car for two months while holding down a job. At Lincoln Place, a supportive housing development in Eagan for youth who have experienced homelessness, the 23-year-old turned her studio apartment into a home.

Over 15 months, Stevena pursued her goals with support and encouragement from staff at Wilder: She focused on her mental health, rebuilt her finances and made a stable life for herself. “It was 100% right for me at the right time,” she says. Now Stevena and her two dogs – whom she adores – are settling into a one-bedroom townhome in Apple Valley, about 10 minutes away from Lincoln Place.

Strong relationships help supportive housing participants pursue their goals

Lincoln Place has 24 studio apartments for young adults who have experienced homelessness. It’s a partnership between Wilder, Dakota County, and the Dakota County Community Development Agency. Wilder provides supportive housing services for tenants, including staff on-site 24 hours a day and case managers who help connect youth to resources and pursue their goals.

At first, Stevena says, she didn’t think that Lincoln Place was the right fit for her, but she shifted her mindset and began to consider the housing development as a step toward her future goals. “You have a case manager for a reason. You have all these people at the front desk for a reason,” she says. “Everybody in that building is there for a reason. You have to use your resources to get up out of there, and that's what I did.”

Molly Rinehart, Stevena’s case manager, remembers that Stevena was hesitant to ask for help at first, but was kind and always up for a chat. Through conversations, Stevena built meaningful relationships with staff. “She began to embrace all of the supports offered to her, including case management, and truly took advantage of the programing,” Molly says.

Stability and progress comes with commitment to mental health

Two dogs owned by a participant in Wilder supportive housing services

Along with therapy and other supports, Stevena worked with case managers to apply for an accommodation that allowed her to adopt her dogs, Ava and Ash. “Stevena’s commitment to her mental health is a big reason why she is in a place to move into independent housing right now,” Molly says.

She also boosted her finances and transportation. Molly helped Stevena apply for a MicroGrant to pay for car repairs. Stevena also began saving money and improved her financial situation. When Stevena moved in to Lincoln Place in July 2019, she had $17 in her bank account. By the time she moved out at the end of October 2020, Stevena says she had a healthy savings and had increased her credit score.

When a spot opened in a one-bedroom townhouse through the Dakota County Community Development Agency, Stevena was ready. After two years of working at a day care, she felt ready for a change, and she returned to a position as a personal care assistant because of the flexibility she would have while building Stevena’s Boutique, an online store through which she plans to sell clothing and other items.

As she was preparing to move, Stevena reflected on time at Lincoln Place and the work that she did– both with staff and with her apartment. Stevena turned her studio’s twin-size bed into a couch with large pillows against a wall. She returned apartment-issued chairs to the main floor and brought in chairs that suited her better. And she kept her home spotless.

“I always pray that the person who gets my apartment will take care of it like I did,” Stevena says. “I hope they appreciate the apartment.”

You have a case manager for a reason. You have all these people at the front desk for a reason. Everybody in that building is there for a reason. You have to use your resources to get up out of there, and that's what I did.

Stevena Troupe, former Lincoln Place resident

Wilder provides supportive housing services to more than 1,000 residents of the Twin Cities every year.

Families, individuals and youth on their own enter housing programs at Wilder through Ramsey and Dakota county’s coordinated access systems after they have experienced homelessness. Wilder helps participants find safe and affordable housing along with flexible and responsive supportive housing services that help them address and overcome challenges.

  • Median incomes for housing participants increased from $787 when they entered to $1,151 when they exited Wilder housing programs.
  • 44% of participants moved into a rental property after they exited Wilder supportive housing programs. The next most common destination was the home of a family member or friend, either temporarily (15%) or permanently (13%).
  • 76% of participants said housing services helped their family “a lot.”
  • 90% of participants said they felt hopeful for the future.

Source: Wilder Research report summarizing five years of data from participants in Wilder supportive housing program