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
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.”