There's No Place Like Home
From our August 2016 MNSights E-newsletter
Imagine for just a moment your child or grandchild not having a bedroom of their own; living a nomadic existence, sleeping on a relative’s couch or a makeshift pallet on a friend’s floor because their parent couldn’t pay the rent. Consider how that child must feel carrying his possessions from shelter to shelter, or to each transitional housing arrangement, in a green garbage bag.
Stable, affordable housing is essential for people to work productively, for their children to learn and for families and communities to thrive. Yet for many Minnesota working families, stable housing remains unaffordable. U.S. Census Bureau data show that, as of 2014, more than 28 percent of the state’s households are “cost-burdened” (paying 30 percent or more of their income for housing). And in Saint Paul, the percent of “cost-burdened” households approaches 40 percent; leaving families and individuals one small crisis – a doctor’s bill or broken car – away from eviction.
Research tells us that such households are often forced to make untenable choices just to keep a roof overhead. They may drop health care coverage (if they have it), select less expensive day care, or skip meals to save on costs. It is especially hard on the children. Youth burdened by housing instability often have lower academic achievement, exhibit negative behaviors and experience social isolation. That is why the work programs such as Project Reach does is so vital. I encourage you to learn more about the program and others like it throughout this issue of MNSights.
- Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D., President and CEO, The Saint Paul and Minnesota Community Foundations