A New Opportunity

PPL and Cabrini Partnership merge to help break the cycle of homelessness

On January 1, 2012, Cabrini Partnership, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit providing transitional and permanent supportive housing and services, merged with PPL. Now known as Cabrini Partnership: A PPL Program, we expand our capacity to provide strengths-based support services to formerly homeless adults trying to stabilize their housing and overcome significant challenges stemming from chemical dependency and serious mental illness.

Founded in 1985, Cabrini Partnership is known for providing transitional and permanent housing along with comprehensive case management around a broad spectrum of support services. Case managers connect residents to community resources including mental health services, chemical health treatment programs, and educational opportunities.

In 2012, approximately 250 residents will be served, living in a combination of scattered site and onsite housing at several locations throughout Hennepin County. Programs are built in part around the nationally-recognized Housing First model. It argues that housing is a basic human right and, without it, other life challenges cannot be adequately addressed. Staff and participants work together to transform previously-held survival skills into self-sustaining living skills, restoring the dignity that homelessness, addiction, and mental illness have worn away.

After leading Cabrini Partnership for 10 years, Executive Director Mary Morris announced her retirement in 2010, and the Board began exploring the idea of a merger to strengthen the organizational framework and ensure the program’s long-term sustainability. The idea gained unanimous board support and was pursued. Cabrini Board Chair Bruce Koehn led the effort, identifying several potential organizations whose missions, cultures, and core values offered a good fit. PPL was the clear standout, thanks in large part to a long-standing alliance between the two organizations. “It was a merger that just worked because there was already a trusting relationship,” said Mary Morris, referring to a multi-year collaboration that resulted in the award-winning Brook Commons and Charlotte Commons development. Located in the Como neighborhood of Minneapolis, the development offers 85 units of affordable housing, 20 of which are reserved for Cabrini residents.

Today, program participants still receive the case management and advocacy that have always been associated with Cabrini Partnership, but with the additional infrastructure that PPL offers. “The merger has been seamless in the eyes of our residents,” says Bruce Koehn. “PPL gives them more options to further their self-sustainability.” To that end, staff members are sharing resources across the organization, resulting in an integrated network of comprehensive support services. Executive Director Steve Cramer acknowledges the unique timing of the merger with PPL’s 40th anniversary by saying, “This is an important moment for hundreds of our participants right now. There’s new opportunity coming out of a shared history.”

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