Did you know…
- 175 school-age youth in the Roseville Area School District are currently homeless? Surrounding school districts have similar numbers.
- Numerically in the Twin Cities, there are more homeless people in the suburbs than in the core cities
- Roseville and surrounding districts each have a homelessness coordinator that works with families to help them find stable housing and other services
Pastor Betsy and Anne Haugen recently attended a Kickoff Event for a new collaborative project called Homework Starts with Home. The focus is on how to address the issues of homelessness and the lack of affordable housing and how these issues affect everything about a student’s life. The group at the event included legislators, mayors, county services staff, school district personnel, churches and citizens from Roseville, White Bear Lake, Shoreview, Mounds View and Maplewood. The idea is to work together to tackle these issues.
“We as Prince of Peace provide the food shelf at the middle school, work with the backpack food program at Central Park and are part of the Angel Fund – a fund created by local churches to provide resources that the school district can direct to families in need,” said Pastor Betsy. “I was surprised by how many homeless youth there are right here in our community. Let’s imagine what we as a congregation, in cooperation with the community, might do to try to combat this problem.”
“At the event we learned how chaotic a student’s life is when they are unhoused. Everything in their life is in turmoil. The six hours a day they are in school may be the only stability they have – school is a warm place, surrounded by people who know them by name, and they get a hot meal for lunch. They shared that it costs $400 per year to transport a child who is housed to school but that it costs $5000 per year to transport an unhoused child because the district tries to keep the child in the same school regardless of where they happen to be living because every time a student moves schools, they lose 3-6 months of education. These are realities that are hard to imagine.”
In Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me…just as you did it to the least of these you did it to me.”
What might God be calling us to do?
Betsy Hoium, Pastor for Faith Formation