Stable Homes, Stable Schools: The Imperative of Doing Things Differently

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

The following is an excerpt from Charlotte Kinzley, a McKinney-Vento liaison for Minneapolis Public Schools. In this piece, she introduces Minneapolis’ Stable Homes Stable Schools (SHSS) partnership and shares promising outcomes they’ve seen as a result. The full article is up on SchoolHouse Connection’s website HERE.

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) identifies around 2,500 students who are experiencing homelessness every year. Minneapolis sits in Hennepin County, Minnesota, which has a strong homeless response system for families and a high number of emergency shelter beds compared to other counties both locally and nationally. Hennepin County is also one of the very few places in the United States that has a right-to-shelter policy for families, meaning that eligible families with children have a right to shelter. While we have a strong shelter response system, the availability of affordable, supportive housing options does not come anywhere close to meeting the need.

In 2017, our school district embarked on a housing initiative designed to fill some of this gap with a focus on school and housing stability for our students. Stable Homes Stable Schools (SHSS) is a partnership with the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA), Hennepin County Health and Human Services, the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, and Minneapolis Public Schools. The initiative supports 18 schools with the highest rates of homelessness and provides access to ongoing rental assistance or one-time emergency assistance and wrap-around services. Families who are currently homeless, as defined by the education subtitle of the McKinney-Vento Act, receive up to 3 years of rental assistance and support designed to move the family toward self-sufficiency and school success. Families who are facing eviction, or at risk of becoming homeless, receive one-time emergency funds and wrap-around support as needed.

Stable Homes Stable Schools is a great example of how a partnership with community organizations, government entities, and the school district can work together to prioritize those most in need of housing support. Our roles are clearly defined and draw upon the expertise that we have in providing support to those experiencing homelessness. The collaboration and connection to services have been critical to the stability we’ve seen thus far.

To read further and learn why it’s more important than ever that we take an urgent, comprehensive look at our housing and homeless response system, visit SchoolHouse Connection’s website HERE.