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Foundation pledges millions to fight homelessness

Associated Press

ST. PAUL -- A state initiative to end chronic homelessness got a major boost Tuesday when the Frey Foundation pledged $5 million to the effort.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced the gift -- the largest private donation to date -- at a news conference crammed with supporters of the homelessness plan. They're hoping the pledge will inspire other private donors to raise a total of $50 million.

The Republican governor wants to end chronic homelessness in Minnesota by 2010, putting 3,300 persistently homeless Minnesotans into housing with support services to keep them there. He's asking legislators to approve $25 million in borrowing for the initiative this year.

"In a state of our size, a state of our ability, identifying those individuals, reaching out to them, providing shelter and also support services is very much an achievable goal," Pawlenty said. "It's a morally important goal."

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Jim Frey, president of the Frey Foundation, said the donation is the largest in the Minneapolis-based foundation's history. The $5 million will go to the state fund and housing organizations including the Family Housing Fund and the Corporation for Supportive Housing.

The state plan calls for new housing combined with support services to address the root causes of homelessness, including mental illness, substance abuse and domestic violence.

The Frey Foundation, founded by Eugene and Mary Frey, aims to help everyone become self-sufficient, fulfill their potentials and become active community members. The Freys ran the Waldorf Corp., a cardboard maker, until its sale in 1997.

On the Net:

Frey Foundation: http://freyfoundationmn.org.

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