- The Stable Homes Stable Schools initiative — launched in May to help Minneapolis Public Schools students and their families pay rent and maintain consistent housing while also offering wraparound services — already has 125 families with 396 children enrolled in the program and hopes to attract more than 600 students, the Minnesota Daily reported.
- The three-year pilot program is a partnership of the school district, the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) and Hennepin County. According to the housing authority, the district found 5,002 students experiencing homelessness in the 2017-2018 school year.
- The program is set to receive more than $3 million from Mayor Jacob Frey’s proposed budget, $1.4 million from MPHA and $500,000 from the Pohlad Family Foundation for the Housing Stability Fund's first two years. It was announced last week that Minneapolis is working with the University of Minnesota to collect data to gauge the initiative's performance.
The growing affordable housing crisis often forces students and their families to move, and causes students to leave the schools they are attending and the stability consistent enrollment provides. In an effort to create more stability for students and allow them to remain in familiar environments, districts around the country are launching housing-based initiatives.
For instance, Tacoma Public Schools in Washington teamed up with the Tacoma Housing Authority to create options to do just that.
Situated in a gentrifying neighborhood, the district’s McCarver Elementary School in Tacoma now provides five-year housing vouchers so students can continue to attend the school. In exchange, parents must attend all parent-teacher conferences and participate in education-related school events.
Results show the turnover rate for students in the voucher program is 23.3%, which is below the district average of 57%. In addition, the percent of students who could read at grade level shot up from 35.8% to 68.8%.
The Tacoma Housing Authority also helps provide stable housing for formerly homeless college students. Students that qualify for the program can stay in the affordable apartments for four years, even if they graduate before the four years expires. In 2014, 14% of University of Washington Tacoma’s students were housing insecure, which means they lived in overcrowded apartments, were unable to pay rent or utilities, or were homeless.
A University of Washington Tacoma survey found that the students enrolled in this program report improved mental health, a better sense of financial well-being and had a better quality of life.