Updates: Child Protection, Homelessness, Affordable Housing, and Jeremiah Program

Child Protection

Last year the state of Minnesota spent about $644,000,000 on child protection. That amounts to about $19,000 per case.  Minnesota counties bear the burden of most of this cost.

Homelessness

About 416 Olmsted County individuals are currently homeless (according to the Coordinated Entry System).  This is down from the 2017 estimates of 552 and 2018 estimates of 497.

The warming center in 2017/2018 has been open 26 nights.  It served 80 individuals for 624 shelter days. Of these individuals, permanent housing was found for 16.

Moving Forward on Affordable Housing

The Housing and Redevelopment Board moved approved a and affordable housing development Concept Plan for the Mayowood Road site.  The concept will be in two phases.  Phase one will include housing for 25 – 30 residents.  The next step is to refine the site plan and the structure for Phase 1.  Although there is a concept for another building as part of Phase 2, that will require additional planning and approval at some time in the future.

Vouchers for Jeremiah Program Increased to 20

The Jeremiah Program is a non-profit that assists low-income single women to receive education for jobs so that they can become self-sufficient instead of relying on pubic funds.  The Jeremiah Project provides housing, childcare, early childhood education, parenting classes, and tutoring for the families and participants.  Participants must be enrolled in a 2-year or 4-year degree program that can provide wages that can sustain the participants after they graduate.  The Jeremiah Program has a great record:  80% of the participants are able to leave government assistants after five years.  The Jeremiah Program exemplifies what Olmsted County is doing with all clients on public assistance.  The Jeremiah track record of assisting people to become self sufficient is why I voted in favor of increasing low income vouchers from 9 to 20 that will be used to house some of the participants (who qualify for the vouchers).  The housing vouchers that are a part of low-income housing funds, are a positive investment.

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