August 14, 2018 07:18 PM
As many as 8.5 percent of school-aged children in Minneapolis are homeless, according to the city.
The family shelter People Serving People housed more than 100 of those children Monday night.
Endy, a single mother staying at the shelter, has a 15-year-old son named Eric. He is one of the hundreds of Minneapolis children living without a place to call home.
"I moved here in 2011 because of the school system," said Endy. Eric was just 9 years old when their bus from Chicago dropped them off in Minneapolis. "It had gotten pretty rough and I didn't want to lose my son to gun violence in the schools."
Endy and Eric have struggled with homelessness ever since.
She's repeatedly tried affordable housing but says it's never been in an area close enough to transportation or her son's school.
She remembers a time when Eric would miss his two first classes for weeks at a time while waiting on a city bus to get to his school.
"It's not just Eric," said Endy. "It was many families."
"The number one greatest indicator of success in school is housing stability," said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
On Wednesday, Frey will announce a pilot program that would ultimately house 650 pre-K through eighth-grade homeless students.
"What we're going to do is find housing within hopefully about a half-mile radius of their community school and make sure that these families are housed for the long haul," he said.
It's called the "Stable Homes, Stable Schools" initiative.
The city will partner with the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and Minneapolis Public Schools to match families in need with apartments.
Families will pay 30 percent of the rent. The city picks up the rest with the $3.3 million that's currently set aside for the program in the mayor's 2019 budget.
"We wanted to look at the affordable housing and homelessness crisis from a different vantage point," said Frey.
This three-year pilot program shifts the affordable housing focus from buildings to people.
"I want him to be able to go to school and know that he'll be at that school for the next three years," said Endy of her son. "That's what I want. That's what I would love more than anything."
Endy's son Eric will enter his sophomore year of high school in the fall but he doesn't yet know where he'll be going to school.
Eric is too old to qualify for this pilot program as right now it only extends to eighth grade.
However, the mayor's office plans to work to extend Stable Homes, Stable Schools all the way through high school if the three-year pilot is a success.
Updated: August 14, 2018 07:18 PM
Created: August 14, 2018 05:39 PM
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