Homelessness 201

Homelessness 201 is our primary training series and is designed to help staff (at all levels) build new skills and tools to better serve people experiencing homelessness. H201s focus on emerging and ongoing needs within our community. The content can be specific to population or program models and often build off the content covered in H101.  

Motivational Interviewing used to be part of our 101 content.  It is now a 3 part 201 series that will be offered throughout the year.  See description at bottom of page for more information.

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.  Click HERE to join MESH.

Registration OPEN:

September 20 – Mindfulness

Mindfulness means paying friendly attention to yourself and the world around you. Its origins come from Eastern Philosophy but many of the principles have been adapted to several different types of disciplines in today’s world with great success (eg. Psychology, Healthcare, Social Services, Education etc.). Practicing Mindfulness can reduce stress, anxiety and improve focus and communication. Mindfulness allows for somebody to be more likely to have intent when making decisions. This session is intended to be a first step (hopefully followed by many more) in understanding what Mindfulness is and how it is applicable to Supportive Housing. The information will be directed toward providers and how they can develop this skill to increase their ability to work better with those around them.

Presented by: Warren Duncan and Courtney Knoll

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.

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

Date/Time: Thursday, September 20, 1-4pm

Location: St Stephen’s Ubuntu Room: 2309 Nicollet Av, Minneapolis 55404

Click HERE to register.

Members – $30/Non-Members – $60 (This is a 3 hour training)


October 2 – Understanding Definitions of Homelessness

Is my client homeless? It seems like the answer should be straightforward! But different funding sources define homelessness differently for eligibility and have different documentation requirements. This workshop will break down these definitions – Minnesota homelessness, literal homelessness, youth homelessness, Category 4 homelessness, long-term homelessness, and chronic homelessness – and what sort of documentation is required. We will walk through examples of homeless histories to determine which definitions they meet and if their documentation passes muster.  From assessor to coordinated entry staff to housing provider to funder, knowing about eligibility requirements is a valuable tool for ending homelessness for the people we serve.

Presented by: Heather Duchscherer has worked as Metro Regional Manager at Hearth Connection since 2016 where she helps administer federal, state, and county-funded rental assistance and services that span the continuum from assessment to housing. Heather enjoys “nerding out” over policy and its real-life implications for human beings.

Date/Time: Tuesday, October 2, 1-3pm

Location: NW Area Foundation (Drake Building): 60 Plato Blvd E, St Paul 55107

Click HERE to register.

Members – $20/Non-Members – $40


October 10 – Landlord Tenant Law for Social Workers

This training was designed for any social service provider who works with clients that face hurdles or problems with their rental housing. Mike will address all the common topics; the application process (including discrimination), repairs (including bedbugs and mold), privacy, evictions and the return of the security deposit. There will be ample time for questions throughout.

Presented by:  Mike Vraa has practiced in the area of landlord/tenant law exclusively since he started working at HOME Line. He has given over 1,100 speeches on various aspects of landlord/tenant law to a wide variety of groups (speaking to over 31,000 attendees) throughout Minnesota and has personally advised over 31,000 renters. He has helped prevent the eviction of over 2,300 Minnesota families and has helped renters recover over 4 million dollars in improperly withheld deposits and rent abatements (refunds for living in substandard conditions).

Mike has been quoted extensively in the media, including; USA Today, NPR, MPR, Thomson Reuters, KARE 11 (NBC-TV), KSTP (ABC-TV), WCCO Radio, Star Tribune, The Fargo Forum and The St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Southwest Journal, City Pages and the Twin Cities Daily Planet.

Mike was also the lead author on HOME Line’s books, How to be the Smartest Renter on Your Block: A Minnesota Tenant’s Rights Guide, and the Landlord’s Guide to Minnesota Law.

Date/Time: Wednesday, October 10, 1-3:30pm

Location: NW Area Foundation (Drake Building): 60 Plato Blvd E, St Paul 55107

Click HERE to register.

Members – $25/Non-Members – $50 (This is a 2.5 hour training)


Upcoming Trainings:

Trauma: the Neurology Behind It & the Best Practices for It’s Treatment – November 6

Social Security Disability: the Process & the Myths – November 14

Stage 1 Motivational Interviewing and Skill Practice – November 26

Collaboration for Improved Response to Domestic and Sexual Violence Victim Survivors – December 4

Stage 2 Motivational Interviewing and Skill Practice – December 17

Get notified when new training registrations go live!  Contact Michele at events@mesh-mn.org to be added to our email list.

NEW – Motivational Interviewing is now a 3 part series for our Homelessness 201 training.  Each stage will build on the previous so please make sure you either take them in order or review pre-requisites before registering.  This is a hands on, practical training to help build motivational interviewing and reflective listening skills.  Contact Michele with any questions.

Stage 1 Motivational Interviewing and Skill Practice

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is learned best in stages, over time, and with opportunities to practice. This workshop is the first of a series of three focusing on the foundations of and beginning strategies of MI. In this workshop you will learn about the Spirit of MI, counseling skills that are essential to effective practice, and an introduction to various MI tools including OARS. By the end of this workshop you will:

  • Understand the uses of MI, in what context it is most helpful, and how to begin using MI strategies with your clients.
  • Have practiced effective listening skills to support deep understanding of what your client(s) are motivated towards
  • Understand and have practiced OARS

Stage 2 Motivational Interviewing and Skill Practice

Incorporating the foundations of MI learned in the first workshop you will be introduced to the stages of change model and how MI utilizes this approach for assisting clients to initiate and further their process of change. You will learn how to evoke from your client their reasons for change, assess readiness, and incorporate complex reflections into your work.  By the end of this workshop you will:

  • Know how to appropriately respond to and work with your clients stage of change using MI
  • Be able to form complex reflections to evoke intrinsic motivation
  • Have practiced “focusing” in order to narrow down your clients concerns into a “target behavior” that becomes the focus of change
  • Have used the “Change Ruler” and decisional balance in the process of identifying various aspects of client motivation

Stage 3 Motivational Interviewing and Skill Practice

In this workshop you will learn about “change talk,” what it is, how to recognize it, and what to do when you hear it.  By the end of this workshop you will:

  • Have learned about and practiced strategies that facilitate client change based on the underlying motivations of importance, confidence, and readiness.
  • Practice how to support the transition from “preparing to change” to “taking steps”
  • Practice developing a plan for change that takes into account contextual challenges and the power of ambivalence and habitual behavior

Roster of Trainings since 2016:

  • Refugee Process 101
  • Social Security Disability: the Process & the Myths
  • Motivational Interviewing (3 part series)
  • Somali 101
  • GA & MSA: Two Programs You Should Know More About
  • LTH & Chronic Homeless Definition
  • Working with Youth in Non-Youth Related Organizations
  • Self-Care (variety of approaches)
  • Creating Trauma Informed Organizations Using the Sanctuary Model
  • Trauma: the Neurobiology Behind It & Best Practices for It’s Treatment
  • Housing from a Landlord’s Perspective
  • Intersections of DV & Sexual Assault and Homelessness/Housing
  • Culture Matters
  • Personality Disorders
  • Landlord/Tenant Law for Social Workers
  • Working with LGBTQ Clients
  • De-Escalation: Strategies for Preventing & Responding
  • Veteran Homelessness in MN
  • Renters’ Rights & Domestic Abuse
  • Co-Occurring Disorders, Trauma, Integrated Treatment & Recovery-Oriented Approaches
  • Working with Homeless Older Adults
  • Housing Support (formerly GRH) Overview
  • Mindfulness
  • Understanding the Definitions of Homelessness