ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal has announced her agency’s funding of more than 1,700 affordable homes throughout the state.
She highlighted one of the state’s premiere investments, a funding boost to allow the Minneapolis-based Jeremiah Program to build a 40-unit affordable housing campus for single mothers and children in Rochester.
Minnesota Housing invested $87 million in projects across the state and provided funding totaling nearly $12 million to the new Jeremiah Program site in Rochester, which will provide 40 young families with a place to call home and give them what the program calls successful strategies to transition from "poverty to prosperity, two generations at a time."
The Jeremiah Program has campuses in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Fargo-Moorhead, Boston, Austin, Texas, and Brooklyn, New York. The new Rochester site is expected to break ground in the summer of 2019.
LaTashia Amos and her two young children hope they will be able to live in one of the 40 new units.
“It’s scary being a single parent and not knowing where you will lay your head and give your kids a safe place to stay," Amos said. "I was in a marriage when I was young, very abusive, and it left me in a situation being a single mom. We became homeless and I came back to Rochester seeking the help I know is here for single moms. I was blessed to find the Jeremiah Program.”
Amos said what has been most instrumental so far, are the empowerment classes she’s taking with other single moms. The encouragement has empowered her to get her GED, and get on track to begin college classes to pursue a degree in the medical field. She is no longer alone in her struggles and has connected to a community.
“So many of the women we serve don’t have that, they are isolated,” said JoMarie Morris, Jeremiah Program's executive director in Rochester. “That sisterhood, the moms coming together supporting each other as they make parenting decisions or as they move forward with careers, that is really the secret sauce of Jeremiah.”
In Olmsted County alone, nearly 40 percent of single mothers with children under 5years old live in poverty. In Rochester, the unemployment rate is roughly 10 percent, but for single mothers it’s almost double that rate, at 19 percent.
“It was almost embarrassing to say I needed the help, you don’t feel like a good mom when you have to reach out for help,” said Amos. “But it doesn’t matter what my circumstances were. When I think about fresh starts and what I want my kids to know, whatever you go through, you can come out the other side, and it’s OK to reach out for help.”
The Minnesota Housing announcement outlined funding for 55 developments that support more than 3,600 jobs and will leverage additional private and local resources for more than $364 million in total development costs.
Minnesota Housing selected the affordable housing investments through an application process with funding from Minnesota Housing, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and the Metropolitan Council.