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Prioritize Stable Homes, Stable Schools program | Opinion

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Two years ago this month, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey launched a “pilot program” called Stable Homes, Stable Schools, based on a common-sense idea: Provide families who are unhoused or struggling to afford housing with rental assistance and wraparound services to help them stay safely housed under one roof.

Research shows strong links between the stability of children’s housing and their academic performance. When children have stable housing, they attend school more regularly and experience less stress and emotional problems. This allows them to stay focused and attentive in class and perform better academically.

Stable Homes Stable Schools has done the work so well that Frey has made it a permanent part of the city budget. But Frey has not expanded the program to include all Minneapolis families who need it. So far, Stable Homes Stable Schools only serves families with children in one of 18 Minneapolis Public Schools. Families in other MPS schools, as well as those in charter, private or home schools, are left out.

By the city’s own count, as of March, Stable Homes Stable Schools had reached 2,735 students from 952 families. What’s harder to measure is the number of students and families the program is missing. What happens when the eviction moratorium is lifted in a few months? As of last fall, we knew that many families feared falling behind on rent, and not all of them are in the 18 schools served by this program.

We know Minneapolis families who have spoken publicly about not being in one of the schools that have the Stable Homes Stable Schools Program, and therefore are locked out of housing resources. Families have also reported that — for myriad reasons — they had to explore other school options outside of the district. Doing so prevented them from being a part of the city’s Stable Homes Stable Schools initiative.

Meanwhile, policing remains the city’s third-largest expenditure. Why is there so much money to control us, and so little money to house us?

The Stable Homes Stable Schools Program could help so many more Minneapolis families if politicians made us their top priority. Therefore, we won’t take no for an answer. We come from a long line of people who refused to ever give up despite their circumstances.

The City of Minneapolis owes all its residents stable homes and stable schools.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this guest commentary incorrectly stated Mayor Jacob Frey declined to meet with the writers. They wrote the article before meeting with Frey in May. The Reformer regrets the error. 

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Khulia Pringle
Khulia Pringle

Khulia Pringle is an activist with brightbeam. She organizes and mobilizes around issues that disproportionately affect low-income individuals and students of color.

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Adriana Cerillo
Adriana Cerillo

Adriana Cerillo is a mother, an entrepreneur, freedom fighter and Minneapolis School Board District 4 director.

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