Homelessness 101

Homelessness 101 is a series of trainings covering essential material needed for working in homelessness and supportive housing. It is best suited for staff who are newer to the field or for staff looking for refreshers on best practices. Currently, the six modules included are: Housing First with Harm Reduction, History of Homelessness, Client Engagement, Boundaries & Ethics, Ending Homelessness and Trauma Informed Practice. We believe that these six trainings cover content that every person in the field should have a basic understanding of as we work towards the goal of preventing and ending homelessness.  

Homelessness 101 will be offered every quarter in the Metro area using 2 models.

MODEL 1: 2 consecutive days of training (3 modules per day)  This model requires attendance at both days.  This training will take place in the 2nd and 4th quarters of the year.

MODEL 2: 3 –  1/2 days (One 1/2 day per month)  This model may be signed up for 1, 2 or all 3 days as fits your schedule.  If you would like to experience the full 101 series, we recommend registering for all 3 days.  This training will take place in the 1st and 3rd quarters of the year.

We don’t want cost to be a barrier for anyone to access quality training. Please contact Michele at events@mesh-mn.org for scholarship and membership questions.  MESH membership allows discounted pricing for all MESH trainings.


Homelessness 101: 2018

Quarter 1:

DAY 1: Thursday, January 25 8:45-12:30

  • History of Homelessness will examine the socio-economic and political factors that cause homelessness, as well as attitudes and responses toward people experiencing homelessness through several major periods of history.
  • Housing First/Harm Reduction is a best practice approach to quickly and successfully connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness to permanent housing without preconditions and barriers to entry, such as sobriety, treatment or service participation requirements. Housing First is also a philosophy that shapes the crisis response system and Coordinated Entry and is important knowledge for everyone, not just those working in Housing First programs.

Click HERE to register for DAY 1.

DAY 2: Thursday, February 8 8:45-12:30

  • Trauma informed Care has become a bit of a cliché and many funders are requiring a “Trauma Informed Approach” but what is it really? This workshop takes a look at Trauma Informed Care from the perspective of someone who has experienced a traumatic event and then dives deeper into the psychology of trauma and recovery.
  • Maintaining professionalism and healthy personal boundaries are critical if you want to do good work, avoid burnout, and really help empower your clients to achieve their goals. Boundaries & Ethics will address some of the most common ethical challenges you might face when working with people who experience homelessness, and will use real-life scenarios to challenge your thinking about this topic.

Click HERE to register for DAY 2.

DAY 3: Tuesday, March 6 8:45-12:30

  • Client Engagement requires working effectively with people who are homeless within a trusting relationship, but sometimes people are reluctant to trust us and accept the services we offer. This presentation will cover some of the reasons people are uncertain about accepting our help and ways we can bridge that divide. It will focus on practical things we can do to build and maintain trust with clients who aren’t sure about working with us.
  • Ending Homelessness can seem like a daunting task. Is it even possible? This section of Homelessness 101 will explore the strategies and programs that Minnesota is using to prevent and end homelessness such as continuum of care, coordinated entry, and a slew of acronyms, and will seek to clarify and simplify some of the complexities of these different strategies. We will explore the multi-faceted approaches needed to reach “functional zero” to help participants better understand their personal and professional role in this work!

Click HERE to register for DAY 3.

Location for ALL DAYS  –  Northwest Area Foundation: 60 Plato Blvd E, Suite #400, St. Paul  55107

Members – $30 per day/ Non-Members – $60 per day

1st Quarter Presenters:

Courtney Knoll: Courtney has been working in the homelessness and supportive housing field for the last 10 years, including the past 4 at MESH. She has a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Minnesota and is passionate about ending homelessness and creating policy and programs that work for people who need them most. She “curates” the MESH Facebook page (that you should follow) at www.facebook.com/mesh-mn and can be reached via email at courtney@mesh-mn.org

John Petroskas: John is a policy specialist at the Minnesota Department of Human Services.  Before joining DHS, John worked in programs that served homeless families and adults.  At Catholic Charities, he helped start the Housing First program, which provides supportive housing for adults who have experienced long-term homelessness.  He also worked for the Wilder Foundation, Metrowide Engagement on Shelter and Housing (MESH), and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Latanda Etaghene:

Warren Duncan: Warren is a Regional Manager at Hearth Connection.  As a native of Des Moines, IA, he graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Sociology.  He began his career as a volunteer at a meal program and delivered meals to the homeless on the streets of Des Moines.  Warren has worked with homeless children in an emergency shelter, with at-risk adolescents at an alternative high school, supervised a group home in the south metro and served as a Case Manager for the chronically homeless in the Twin Cities.  He has been working in Permanent Supportive Housing for the last 10 years and is passionate about using Housing First and Harm Reduction principles.  He resides with his family in the west metro.

Geoff Meyer: Geoff has worked in the Human Services Field for the past 17 years. Along with providing trainings across the Midwest He is the Director of Housing and Services for House of Charity. Combining his BA in Film and Theatre with his MA in Counseling Psychology Geoff has developed a passion for engaging staff and clients to be able to fully experience trainings and therapy. Geoff puts a focus on person-centered, trauma informed, motivational interviewing and harm reduction with a dash of all the other treatment clichés that happen to be handy. Geoff encourages everyone to step back and not take themselves or each other too seriously. “We’re all just trying to meet our needs in the healthiest way we know and each of us has a responsibility to teach and learn from each other.”

Steve Carlson: Steve Carlson, PsyD has been working in the mental and chemical health field for over thirty years in a variety of settings, mostly in clinical and management positions at various Community Mental Health Centers.  He is currently employed by the University of Minnesota as a Clinical Trainer at the Minnesota Center for Chemical and Mental Health.  Additionally, Steve is an Adjunct Professor at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and a Community Faculty Member at Metropolitan State University.  His areas of interest and specialty include Integrated Mental and Chemical Health Treatment, Stages of Change & Motivational Interviewing, Harm Reduction, Mindfulness and Mental Health, The Psychology of Long-Term Homelessness, Trauma-Informed Organizations, Supportive Housing Model and other mental health topics.  As a Certified Minnesota Trainer in Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) Steve provides training and consultation to agencies around the State of Minnesota. He can be reached at carlsos@umn.edu.


Quarter 2:

Day 1: April 24, 8:30-3:30

Day 2: April 25, 8:30-3:30

Location: Minneapolis

Look for registration in early March.