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State Announces New Plan on Homelessness and Rental Assistance

27 Dec

(St. Paul, MN) – State officials joined Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges today at Jackson Elementary School in Frogtown to announce Minnesota’s new Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. The event also celebrated the first funding award under the plan, which allocates $2 million for rental assistance for homeless and highly mobile families with children to improve school performance.

The Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness, a collaboration of the Commissioners of 11 state agencies created by Governor Dayton, detailed strategies and actions under two major goals in the plan: 1) Prevent and End Homelessness for Families with Children and Unaccompanied Youth by 2020; and 2) Finish the Job of Ending Homelessness for Veterans and for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness by 2015.

Council Co-Chairs Mary Tingerthal, Minnesota Housing Commissioner and Lucinda Jesson, Department of Human Services Commissioner, stressed the importance of stable housing for a thriving Minnesota. More than 248,000 residents pay more than half their income for housing.

“Preventing and ending homelessness matters to Minnesota’s future. It is shocking that more than 10,000 Minnesotans are homeless on any given night and simply unacceptable that children and youth make up nearly one-half that number.” – Mary Tingerthal, Commissioner, Minnesota Housing

This bold new plan establishes accountability for Commissioners and staff of participating state agencies and builds on what is already working to end homelessness. The plan marks a renewed statewide effort that began ten years ago with a plan to end long-term homelessness. That plan called for and successfully created 4,000 new supportive housing opportunities for people experiencing long-term homelessness.

“The imbalance between housing costs and incomes seriously undermines our state’s ability to improve educational outcomes, build a resilient workforce, and create a stronger Minnesota. This plan sets us on a path to both prevent and end homelessness for more families and individuals.” – Lucinda Jesson, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Human Services

In addition to launching the new Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, Brenda Cassellius, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education attended the event at Jackson Elementary school to draw attention to the increasing number of homeless and highly mobile children. During the
last legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature approved funding of the Rental Assistance for Highly Mobile Students Initiative.

The initiative provides rental assistance for up to 24 months, as well as supportive services for families with school‐aged children who move frequently. The goal of the initiative is to allow children to attend the same school without interruption through the school year to improve attendance rates and student achievement. Funding was awarded to the following organizations:

Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, working with St. Paul Promise Neighborhood $875,000
Project for Pride In Living, working with the North Side Achievement Zone in Minneapolis $800,000
Clay County HRA, working with the Moorhead Public Schools $325,000

“Children who experience costly interruptions to their learning are at greater risk of lowered achievement. This initiative is one more important piece in our efforts to better support Minnesota students, allowing them to focus on their number one job: learning.” – Brenda Cassellius, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Education

The Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness includes Commissioners from eleven state agencies including: Corrections, Education, Employment and Economic Development, Health, Higher Education, Human Rights, Human Services, Housing, Public Safety, Transportation and Veterans Affairs.

This is a joint press release from the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Minnesota Housing Finance Agency:
http://mn.gov/dhs/images/State%2520Homeless%2520Plan%2520NR.pdf

For more information:
Contact Jeremy Drucker at 651.431.2920 (office) or 651.263.7632 (cell)

Wilder Foundation: webmaster@wilder.org or 651.280.2000
Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood: promiseneighborhood@wilder.org
Project for Pride In Living: ppl@ppl-inc.org or 612.455.5100
Northside Achievement Zone: 612.594.8286 or Jillian Kahn jkahn@the-naz.org

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