March Report: “The Front Door” a gateway to H.C. Social Services, and Cat. Converter, Kia and Hyundai theft — Progress!

The meeting was called to order on March 13 at 6:35 PM, with 12 attenders

Our speaker is Sarah Tjernagel, a Supervisor in Hennepin County Front Door Social Services.   This agency serves as a gateway to the many professional resources that are ours to use if or when we need them.   The Front Door is a first stop for people who are looking for help with or for neighbors, for friends or family members, or for themselves.   It is a first simple step to discovering some of the many free and Medical Assistance funded voluntary services available to those of us who live in Hennepin County.

2-PAC has had many presenters in the past telling us about special social services available for Hennepin residents; in February, we heard from COPE, Behavioral Crisis Response, 1800 Chicago, and the HCAOffice Commitments and Guardianships.    The Front Door is where residents can get help determining which of those agencies might best meet our needs and answer our questions.  Ms Tjernagel pointed out that it’s good to contact them early on, more as a preventative measure, instead of waiting until intervention is necessary.

Officially: The Front Door is the primary intake point for voluntary social services within Hennepin Country’s Health and Human Services Dept.

THE TEAM – The Front Door is a team of 23 Social Workers and Public Health Nurses, and 3 Supervisors  with a wide range of knowledge and experience.

SOCIAL SERVICE REFERRALS:   This is the direct access, self-referral entry.  [EQ: (612) 348-4111 (option 0) and see more below] This is where people call who, “Don’t know what to do about XYZ when ABS happens.]

  • Child Access – Short term service planning for children from birth through age 17 for up to three months.  They can be referred for long-term case management if needed.
  • Adult Access – Short term service planning for adults age 18+ for up to three months.   They can be referred for long-term case management if needed.
  • Department Navigators – Assist residents who need help accessing County systems or community resources.  Focus on housing, health insurance, income and education.
  • Personal Care Attendant (PCA)  – Provides  assistance with personal care such as bathing, dressing, grooming.
  • Long-Term Services & Supports – MNChoices  — assessment  to determine eligibility for waiver or Alternative Care Programs (CADI, BI, EW, and other)  This is a step beyond the PCA program.  It might include assisted living or help with housekeeping or meal preparation, delivered meals or adult day-care; all are covered by the waiver programs.
  • Developmental Disabilities – DD eligibility determination for rule 185 DD Case Management.   It can include day services, work services, or other support services.

SOCIAL SERVICE REFERRALS:  access is by referral from The Front Door or other professional services unless otherwise noted.

  • Hennepin Health – Short term, voluntary social service navigation for Hennepin County PMAP and MinnesotaCare recipients. People can get through their insurance
  • Direct Access (formerly Rule 25) – Refer to Substance Use Disorder  comprehensive assessment providers. Individuals can access this themselves and decide where they want to access treatment.
  • Coordinated Access for Families (CES) –  Refer families and pregnant women experiencing longterm homelessness  for assistance with referrals to housing programs.
  • Emergency Response Line – Operate the ERL when activated by Hennepin County management during a crisis response. (e.g. falling bridges or Covid or measles outbreak)
  • Information & Community Referral – Provide information about various county processes and referrals to community organizations. 

FDSS Statistics

  • Phone calls — Receives over 3000 calls a month.
  • Electronic contacts — Responds to about 600 emails, faxes, or online referrals per month.
  • Referrals – Processes about 940 referrals per month.
  • Referral distribution – In 2021, about 65% of referrals were assigned  to Long Term  Social Services and 27% were assigned to Access [meaning access to mental health services or developmental disabilities services]

The Referral Process

  • Phone intake is provided M-F, 8 AM to 4 PM. 
  • Phone (612) 348-4111 (option 0).
  • Email for general questions is

Electronic referral is coming!  FDSS is working on an online referral option.   This will allow residents to submit a request for referral any day, any hour.  It’s likely to be active before the end of this year. 

The following information will be needed before FDSS can make a referral: 

  • Permission for the referral by the client
  • Name, Date of birth, and PMI
  • Address and phone number
  • Primary language (interpreter need?)
  • Reason prompting the referral
  • Primary diagnosis and health referral
  • Current unmet needs
  • Formal/informal supports
  • What is important to & important for the individual Behavioral Crisis Response
  • Financial information
  • Disability status
  • Guardian contact information (if applicable)
  • Case manager information (if applicable)
  • Primary Care Provider Contact Information
  • BHCM: diagnostic assessment

Additional Hennepin County Resources

General housing or shelter resources:

Emergency Programs

Housing assistance website

Medical Assistance (MA), food assistance (SNAP),cash or emergency assistance

Eligibility Works Supports  at (612)  596-1300



Update from Lt. Nelson: 

We’ve all heard about the incredible increase in theft of Kias and Hyundais.   Last week 32 of the 33 stolen cars were Kias or Hyundais.  This was triggered by a TicToc video posted about 18 months ago showing how easy it was to take a USB like a phone charger, insert it into the ignition on the steering wheel and use that to start the car.  The vehicles that have a real key are the most vulnerable.    Vehicles that have a “PUSH TO START” ignition already have an immobilizer in them.  Those cars are much harder to steal.

Kia and Hyundai software upgrade. 

Hyundai is asking owners to call a dealership and make an appointment to install the fix.   It takes about an hour. 

Kia will be sending out a letter to owners of record, starting with the 2014 Sportages (model).   The letter includes your VIN number (you can see this if you stand on the driver’s side and look down at the front of the dashboard.   It’s also on the door frame.)   Once you have that letter, you can call Kia to make an appointment for the upgrade installation.   You’ll then get a sticker that informs a would-be thief that the car has had the upgrade.   (EQ: They’re going to look for that sticker, right?) 

Until you get the upgrade, parking in a locked garage is the best deterrent.   If you don’t have a garage, Autoparts, Amazon and places still sell the Club, which slows a thief down so maybe they’ll take a pass.

Comment:  this has been 18 months. The companies should have been on it long ago.   Didn’t insurance companies get after them? 

Q: Comment in the online Minneapolis website 3/2/23: 

Comment: The Police Dept used to hand out Clubs.  

Lt. Nelson:  We hand them out to victims.   If someone’s car has already been vandalized because someone has broken a window and was trying to steal it,  we’ll give them a Club; their car can’t be secured with a broken window and is vulnerable. If their car was stolen and we’ve recovered it, we’ll bring them a Club.  The Second Precinct was issued 12 clubs.  It’s not enough for everyone. 

QQ: Have thefts gone down yet?

Nelson: It’s up and down.  There are about a dozen kids who mostly steal in South Minneapolis. One individual who has shown up in the 2nd Pct admitted to stealing 50 (FIFTY) cars.  It is a few people doing most of the crime.  It will be interesting to see when the weather gets warmer if that gives us an uptick in auto theft. 

QQ   What about catalytic converter theft. 

Rashid:  Proposed legislation would make it harder to sell a catalytic converter.   [EQ: Governor Walz signed the bill on March 16, Reported in the 3/17 Star Tribune – Tiny URL:  


NIBRS Crime Metrics 28 days20232022
      Incl. domestic aslt.98
Burglary, B&E1829
Destr. of property8334
Homicide, negligent00
Homicide, non-negl.00
Larceny theft131194
Motor vehicle theft10748
      Incl car jacking31
Sex offenses147
Stolen property offenses23
Weapon law violations53
Shots fired239
Gunshot wound vics.01

Lt. Nelson feels that numbers on Property Destruction and Motor Vehicle Theft are related to Kia and Hyundai theft.   Property Destruction is a “mushy” metric:  if someone steals a Kia by breaking the window to get in, but the vehicle is recovered, that car might be reported for both crimes.    Similarly if someone breaks a window to get into a house and steals the electronics, it’s both Destruction of Property and Burglary.   

QQ: Are all the broken street signs and stop signs are Property Destruction?

Answer: It depends on many things.  People who lose control of the car and knock over a stop sign aren’t likely to hang around until someone reports it.


HCAO : No one has asked them to track a specific case, so no reports.

City AO:  Still catching up the backlog  

Lunds and Byerly’s (on University between Central and East Hennepin) has a theft issue.  Officer Martinez has arrested the suspect.  Atty Okoronkwo added up the complaints

[$350], and the total has reached felony level.  L&B have not supplied requested videos from the cameras.    

The recording of this meeting is posted here:


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