State Rep. Michael Howard (DFL-Richfield) introduced Homework Starts with Home legislation, seeking $8 million to provide solutions to help combat home instability for Minnesota students and families.
“Every student in Minnesota deserves a safe and stable place to call their home, but the reality is far too many of our students lack this basic necessity,” said Howard. “Homework Starts with Home is an innovative, community-centered initiative that acknowledges the important intersection between housing stability and student achievement. Success in the classroom for our students begins with stability for our students at home.”
Last year more than 9,500 students enrolled in Minnesota public schools across the state experienced homelessness. Howard said the challenge impacts more than 1,000 schools in 77 Minnesota counties. Home instability leads to challenges for students in the classroom. Only one in four third graders facing homelessness reads at their grade level. They are 37 percent less likely to be proficient compared with their low-income but housed counterparts, and more likely to be absent from school.
Homework Starts with Home seeks to improve housing stability for families through direct housing rental assistance and improved collaboration between schools, housing providers, and services. In 2018, this initiative received an initial $4.1 million in funding for up to five sites, yet there are no ongoing resources dedicated to this program. An increased investment will help expand Homework Starts with Home to communities across the state.
Homework Starts with Home funding is included in legislation geared at the vital mental health, housing and community services that are vital for success in school. This initiative is also part of the Homes 4 All Coalition legislative agenda.