Homework Starts with Home

Initiative Aimed at Ending Student Homelessness

Nearly 8,700 students experience homelessness in Minnesota’s public and charter schools based on fall student enrollment data for the 2017-18 school year. These students attend 1,239 different schools located in 312 different public and charter school districts across 76 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.

Request for Proposals
The partners released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Homework Starts with Home on April 16, 2018. Through this competitive process, the partners will award public and private funding to selected applicants. Minnesota Housing will award Housing Trust Fund rental assistance and Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program resources dedicated to the initiative and the Heading Home Minnesota Funders Collaborative will award philanthropic funding. Responses are due by Monday, June 4, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. CDT. For more information and the application materials, please see the Minnesota Housing's Multifamily Grant Programs web page.

Information Session
An information session about the RFP and application process will be held Friday, April 27, 2018 at 1 p.m. CDT at Minnesota Housing, located at 400 Wabasha Street, Suite 400, Treasure Island Center Building, Saint Paul, MN 55102. The session will also be available over web- and teleconference. To register for this session and for details about participating remotely, please send an email to Homework Starts with Home or call 651-582-8511 by Thursday, April 26, 2018.

To assist potential applicants in considering how the program and its preliminary practice model could be implemented, the partners have arranged a series of additional information sessions on specific elements of the initiative. These sessions will run weekly beginning the week of April 30. Participation is optional but attendance at these sessions is encouraged. Sessions will be offered on the following topics:

  • Two-Generational Approaches to Supporting Families
  • Leveraging Mainstream Resources
  • Trauma-informed Care in Schools
  • Progressive Engagement
  • Lessons from the Hamilton San Francisco Pilot

All sessions will be broadcast online. All presentation materials and recordings of these sessions will be posted on this web page. To participate in these sessions, please send an email to Homework Starts with Home or call 651-582-8511 to register and receive additional information about these sessions.