On Tuesday, November 15, 2022, the Olmsted County Administrative Committee, with support from the Olmsted County Housing Department, approved the addition of two senior social workers to serve as liaisons to all school districts in Olmsted County. The social workers will work closely with school leaders to help identify and 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,” said Olmsted County Housing Program Manager Mary O’Neil. “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 January 1, 2023. Approximately $240,000 of that funding will go toward the new positions each year.
Over 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 Local Homeless Prevention Aid allows for an expansion of this service throughout Rochester schools and all schools within Olmsted County.
“Community collaboration is vital to the educational success of students experiencing homelessness,” said Rochester Public Schools Coordinator of Community Partnerships Lida Casper. “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 will be added to the Olmsted County Job Opportunities webpage the week of November 28, 2022.