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Stable Homes Stable Schools has tremendous impact

A mother was working with the Stable Homes Stable Schools program to find housing for her family. A victim of domestic abuse, she planned to go to a domestic violence shelter, but there was a hitch.

She was under supervised probation as part of DWI Court in Hennepin County, and the shelter was outside the county. Persons participating in DWI Court, are required to live in Hennepin County.

The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority reached out to Casey Schleisman, Human Services’ liaison to Stable Homes Stable Schools. Casey contacted assistance to work quickly with a DWI Court team to review the woman’s case and get approval for her to move outside the county.

Untangling complex situations like these is part of Hennepin County’s contribution to Stable Homes Stable Schools, an initiative to support students experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Partners in the project are the City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, Hennepin County Health and Human Services department, YMCA of the North, and Minneapolis Public Schools.

Front door of a home

The initiative supports families with children in 18 Minneapolis schools that have the highest rates of homelessness. Families who are currently homeless receive up to three years of rental assistance and support designed to help them move toward self-sufficiency and school success. Families at risk of eviction can receive one-time emergency funds and other support as needed.

School social workers identify families for the program based on the needs of the children related to school – such as low attendance, low proficiency in reading or math, or parents’ inability to communicate with the school. Then the schools, the YMCA and Housing Authority work to help the family find affordable housing in an area where the students can stay at their current schools.

Stable Homes Stable Schools also can prioritize students who may not be eligible for other supports because they don’t meet the federal definition of “homeless.” For instance, they and their families may be doubled up in unsafe situations or paying for motel space.

This story reflects Hennepin County disparity reduction priorities in education, housing and justice.