Homework Starts with Home

Initiative Aimed at Ending Student Homelessness

More than 8,000 students experience homelessness in Minnesota’s public and charter schools, based on fall student enrollment data for the 2018-19 school year. These students attend 1,387 schools located in 308 public school districts and charter schools across 78 of Minnesota’s 87 counties.

Homelessness and housing instability presents one of the most significant challenges for these students and their academic success:

  • Homeless and highly mobile students are more likely to be chronically absent, missing more than 10 percent of school days. Chronic absenteeism jeopardizes educational success. In fact, a student’s attendance through sixth grade predicts future educational attainment and the likelihood of graduation.
  • Only one in four homeless third-graders demonstrate reading proficiency, a rate that is 37 percent lower than their low-income but housed peers. Low reading proficiency in third grade correlates with significantly lower academic success in the future.

Homelessness disproportionally impacts students of color. Seventy-two percent of students facing homelessness are students of color. American Indian students are over-represented among students experiencing homelessness by a factor of 6.1. Black students are over-represented by a factor of 4.5. Homelessness also disproportionately impacts students with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LBGTQ) youth.

To promote early identification and more effective responses to the needs of students facing housing crises, Minnesota Housing, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness, and the Heading Home Minnesota Funders Collaborative (collectively, “the partners”) have developed an initiative called Homework Starts with Home. This initiative builds on the successful Rental Assistance Pilot for Homeless and Highly Mobile Families with School-Age Children.

For more information about Homework Starts with Home, including current funding opportunities, please see the Minnesota Housing's Multifamily Grant Programs webpage.