The City created the Homeless Assistance Response Team (HART) in late 2021 to address an unprecedented rise in homeless encampments amid a regional crisis in affordable housing.
The City of Saint Paul and surrounding region saw a significant rise in unsheltered residents and homeless encampments over the last several years. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020-21, encampment numbers reached historic levels. Learn more about the situation and our response in this presentation to City Council in 2021. The City's on-the-ground experience responding to that crisis created opportunities to develop new approaches. Learn more about our response to
The City's guiding principle has been that encampments do not provide a safe, healthy, or secure living environment. The HART emerged as part of a City-wide commitment to engage the full spectrum of caring resources in our community to focus on our unsheltered residents.
Anchored in the Department of Safety and Inspections, HART works across departments, service providers and government jurisdictions to integrate services and connect directly with our community's most vulnerable residents, one person at a time. HART staff seek to identify the unique needs of each unsheltered resident and, utilizing available community resources, secure the appropriate shelter or housing options and services, and to clear encampment sites.