Andrea Hinderaker leads St. Paul’s Homeless Assistance Response Team.
Andrea Hinderaker considered a career in agribusiness. Later, she became a pastor. But after joining Peace House in Minneapolis, Hinderaker said working with people who are homeless “grabbed my heart.”
She now leads St. Paul’s Homeless Assistance Response Team (HART), created in late 2021 to address an unprecedented rise in homeless encampments in the capital city. Her team, which works out of the city’s Department of Safety and Inspections (DSI), connects unsheltered residents with services and shelter.
Eye On St. Paul recently talked with Hinderaker about her background, her work and her goals. This interview was edited for length.
Q: Tell me about you.
A: I have been in the Twin Cities area for about 12 years. My education is not anywhere in this field. I went to school for agribusiness. I managed a small dairy farm. But this is where life took me. When this position came about, I was asked to apply. It couldn’t be a better fit, I don’t think.
Q: What turned you on to this work?
A: I grew up in poverty, my family struggled. I had a primary parent who struggled with persistent mental illness. So, I felt the stigma of poverty and mental illness in my home and in my community. I sort of lived with the philosophy of doing the least amount of harm in the world. That’s who I am in a nutshell.