Vail’s Housing Program Vision is in Great Hands!

Vail’s Housing Program Vision is in Great Hands!

The past year-and-a-half has brought a sharp increase in the amount and intensity of housing needs in our community, with Vail Place serving more and more people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

To meet that need, Vail Place has pursued bold, creative solutions to significantly increase the housing options we can offer, targeting gaps in the system.  That has led to the creation of a dedicated Housing Division and a much greater capacity to combat homelessness.  Our extensive growth has required a new approach to oversee operations and compliance, and ensure we are achieving outcomes for residents and those seeking housing.

Jamie Fann, who has split her time between oversight of the Hopkins Clubhouse and Vail House, will refocus her energy and extensive knowledge in entrepreneurial housing ventures as the Housing Operations Director.

Jamie Fann

“From my perspective, the ability to continue actively working Vail’s mission – ‘help people with serious mental illnesses avoid crisis, achieve stability, and pursue active, fulfilling lives based on their individual abilities’ – is to help provide decent, safe, and affordable housing. Once stability in housing is reached, individuals are in a better situation to address other areas in their lives that may have led to their homelessness, such as addressing mental health or substance use issues, employment and more.”

Jamie will be collaborating with Tyler Keyes to pursue the growth and innovation of our Housing Division. This new division will allow Vail Place to expand our housing services by, among other things, building more strategic partnerships and taking greater advantage of funding opportunities.

“I look forward to collaborating with Tyler and his team of Housing Case Managers and Specialists, as they continue to bring a level of dedication and knowledge that have already brought increasing recognition to Vail as a premiere housing services provider and a prime referral for people facing some of the most challenging housing situations.”

Tyler Keyes, Vail Place’s Housing Program Director, developed his passion for housing early in his life.  He was volunteering in homeless shelters in high school and subsequently worked in homeless shelters.  He saw first-hand the impact on people’s lives …

“The importance of housing can’t be stressed enough. Before individuals can make progress toward various goals, having a safe and stable place to live is crucial.”

Tyler Keyes

Tyler came to Vail Place eight years ago, motivated by a deep commitment to working with people who don’t have a place to live and to help end homelessness wherever we can.  He became a key figure in Vail’s housing program, and in growing housing services.

“The past year and change at Vail Place we have emphasized combating homelessness through our two newest programs – Rapid Rehousing (RRH) and Housing Stabilization Services (HSS). RRH exclusively supports those who are exiting homeless shelters or living on the streets.  HSS is a statewide initiative that works with those that are at risk of homelessness and strives to find alternative housing or prevent loss of current housing. Vail Place’s HSS program receives referrals for internal members and external participants”

More about RRH … this program provides short-term rental assistance and case management services for eligible individuals. The goal of the program is to help individuals experiencing homelessness obtain housing quickly, enhance self-sufficiency, and maintain their housing placement long-term. This program is offered without preconditions (such as employment, income, criminal record, etc.), and the resources and services provided are always personalized to the needs of the individual.

Rapid re-housing is a proven and cost-effective strategy that has been used to reduce homelessness. It involves helping households move into housing as quickly as possible after they enter the shelter system, and then helping them maintain this housing through the establishment of services and short-term financial assistance, as needed.

Tyler says Vail continues to advance the Housing Division by expansion …

“New housing programs have varying referral sources and enrollment criteria which furthers our reach to populations we previously were not serving.”

Vail’s current Group Residential Housing (GRH) pilot program, which assists in independent housing for those exiting treatment facilities, is another promising area of growth.  And, of course, Vail continues to successfully maintain its many other housing services – like programs in Hopkins and St Louis Park that support retention of housing for residents living in project-based subsidized properties; and our Louisiana Court Apartments program in St. Louis Park that supports individuals that meet the state’s “long-term homeless” definition, helping residents learn the skills to be successful renters and avoid future instances of homelessness.

There are many challenges facing our Housing Division but, as Tyler says …

“We have a great team with the drive and passion to limit the number of people who are homeless in our community – people in immediate need and who need to take more steps in their lives.”