Minnesota Care Counseling Services
Providing Mental Health Resources for East African Refugees and Immigrants
Serving members of the community
SBA 7(a) Success Story
Since the early 1990s, hundreds of thousands have fled the East African country of Somalia in search of peace due to the civil war. Today, Minneapolis is not only home to the largest population of Somalis in the U.S., it is also home to many refugees from other neighboring East African countries as well.
As individuals immigrate to the U.S., it’s important that they have access to the necessary tools to live successful lives. And it is especially critical that refugees who have endured war, famine, and other traumatic events have access to mental health resources.
For Hussein Mohamed, it has become his life’s work to provide those resources for members of his community who have experienced traumatic events.
“Every single Somali family has some sort of PTSD, because they’ve been in the civil war,” Mohamed said. “I became a mental health practitioner to help those people.”
Mohamed is the Owner and Administrative Director of Minnesota Care Counseling Services, an intercultural organization established in 2014 to provide mental health services to the East African immigrant and refugee population in Minneapolis.
When he arrived in Minneapolis 22 years ago as a refugee from Somalia, Mohamed didn’t speak any English. But he learned and eventually went on to earn his master’s degree in Healthcare Administration and became a Licensed Graduate Social Worker.
While working for the city of Minneapolis, he noticed a need for additional mental health resources in the East African Community. This led him to launch Minnesota Care Counseling Services.
Some of the services offered by Mohamed’s business include individual therapy, group therapy, and life-skill assistance. Most of his clients do not speak English, but Mohamed employs many East African practitioners who are able to effectively communicate.
As his business and staff grew, Mohammed needed a larger space to accommodate the demand for his services. He also determined that the best long-term investment for his business would be to own his own office space, rather than continuing to lease and pay rent.
Mohamed set off to purchase a commercial real estate property to expand his business, but obtaining financing proved difficult.
He first tried going through traditional lenders, but the down payment required was more than he could afford. He also found the process to be tiresome and wanted additional, personal guidance through the process.
A friend referred Mohamed to CRF and the experience was quite different. He found that CRF was able to work with him to agree on a down payment that he could afford. Eventually he received an SBA 7(a) loan from CRF to finance the purchase of a new building for his business.
“I was very thrilled and excited, because I can say I am a person who came here as an immigrant and built my way up. Now I’m property owner,” Mohamed said. “And a lot of my community was very happy for me for what I did. It was it was very good moment.”
With a new building, Minnesota Care Counseling Services was able to take on contracts with two new counties and add additional services that focus on helping those experiencing homelessness. The loan also helped create four new jobs.
As he looks toward the future, Mohamed plans to expand his business even further and offer more services. He also hopes to continue to find ways to break the stigma surrounding mental health in the East African community in Minneapolis.
“There are a lot of resources out there, but my community doesn’t know about them,” Mohamed said. “Our goal is to help them find the resources to help them stay healthy and be successful.”