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New positions created to help families facing housing emergencies in Olmsted County

Olmsted County is using funds from state program to add social workers assigned to address needs in schools.

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ROCHESTER — A pair of Olmsted County social workers will soon serve as liaisons schools throughout the county to support students and families facing housing emergencies.

“We are always looking for ways to connect families in need with housing resources in our community and assist them in the process,” Olmsted County Housing Program Manager Mary O’Neil said in a statement announcing the effort. “Families have relationships with the schools their children attend, and educators or school-based social workers are often the first to hear about a family’s struggle with housing.”

Funding for the new positions comes from Local Homeless Prevention Aid provided by the State of Minnesota.

Olmsted County will receive $795,545 annually for six years beginning Jan. 1. Approximately $240,000 of that funding will go toward the new positions each year.

Throughout the last two years, a Homework Starts with Home grant program helped the families of more than 100 students facing housing insecurity in several Rochester public schools. The additional funding from state’s Local Homeless Prevention Aid allows for an expansion of this service throughout Rochester schools and all schools within Olmsted County.

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“Community collaboration is vital to the educational success of students experiencing homelessness,” Rochester Public Schools Coordinator of Community Partnerships Lida Casper said. “We are grateful to be able to collaborate with our partners within Olmsted County because we know that when students have safe, consistent housing, their educational and life outcomes are better.”

The new positions are expected to be added to the Olmsted County Job Opportunities webpage during the week of Nov. 28.

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