Olmsted County is being asked to ensure a group of single mothers have roofs over their heads as they find their way out of poverty.
On Tuesday, the county’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority will be asked to provide temporary rental assistance for eight families in the Jeremiah Program as the organization starts construction of a Rochester campus.
“Staff recommends aiding these families during the construction of the campus,” states a report to the HRA board. “The Jeremiah Program has over 20 years of proven results and once complete, will serve as an asset to the community. Providing this temporary assistance is essential for the early success of the program.”
However, the staff recommendation is approximately $20,000 short of what Jeremiah Program is requesting.
The program is asking for $80,000, which cover $950 in monthly rent, plus security deposits, for five families that are currently homeless or on the verge of homelessness. The funds would also provide for the anticipated costs for three families whose leases will run out before the Jeremiah campus opens next year.
“Housing is the critical foundation that enables Jeremiah participants and their young children to grow as families, succeed as students, and prepare for a career,” the organization stated in its request.
Jeremiah Program works with single mothers with preschool children, providing housing and support services as the mothers attend college to start careers that will help them escape poverty. The program also offers education support for children in the families it serves.
In recommending support for the program, the county’s HRA staff is suggesting month-by-month funding.
Under the proposal, existing HRA payment standards would be used in providing a portion of rent on a $940 two-bedroom apartment. Participants would pay 30 percent of their incomes for rent, with the county covering what remains.
County staff estimates the cost at approximately $60,000 for the year before the Jeremiah Program campus opens.
When the campus opens, the county HRA has already committed 20 federal housing vouchers to the program to help cover future rent costs.
Jeremiah Program’s Rochester effort has raised $16.3 million to start construction on its campus planned for a site near the intersection of Valley High Drive and 19th Street Northwest.
The complex will include 36 two-bedroom apartments and four three-bedroom apartments, as well as on-site early childhood education and space for parents to engage in life-skills and empowerment training.
The groundbreaking for construction is set for July 29, with plans to open the complex in June next year.
The county’s HRA board will hear the support proposal during its meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday in conference room 1 of the city-county Government Center.