Most industries have mechanisms (chambers of commerce, trade shows, licensing, etc.) that have helped to promote:

  • The creation and evaluation of industry standards
  • The forecast and understanding of emerging trends
  • Networking and collaboration opportunities
  • Sharing of best practices


The metro area supportive housing community has no such reliable structure in place and (while there exist many wonderful examples of collaboration and cooperation) there are also too many examples in which supportive housing providers operate in disconnected and sometimes adversarial manners, thus inhibiting our community’s ability to end homelessness.

One of the biggest threats to the stability of supportive housing today is the lack of sufficient services and operating funding.  Supportive housing providers across the metro region and the country are struggling to maintain the services they need to help the families they serve retain their housing and thrive.  Some supportive housing providers are even being forced to face the possibility of closing their program.  Challenging times, however, often bring opportunity; and we believe that today’s funding challenges have brought about an increased willingness and understanding among providers for the need to build new partnerships and to work collaboratively to identify solutions to today’s pressing issues.  The piece missing in this opportunity is an organization that has both: (1) the priority and capacity to staff and facilitate the discussions needed to identify new solutions, and (2) the neutrality and diplomacy required to navigate through the difficult issues.

Since its inception, MESH has been seen in the Twin Cities metro area and across the state as an entity that can bring often disparate parties together to find common solutions to the complex housing issues of the day.  Building upon the lessons learned from the 2008 workgroup (noted earlier in “recent MESH accomplishments”), we have identified a continuing need for focused discussions of the pressing issues within the supportive housing community in order to continue to recognize emerging trends, elicit solutions to current roadblocks, and to improve our community’s ability to utilize the limited resources available in the most effective and efficient manner.