Committee Summary: MN House Joint Childhood & Housing Committees and Preventing Homelessness Division , Feb. 11

Reporting by Aimee Gillespie, UpTake Fellow

The MN House Joint Childhood and Housing Committees and Preventing Homelessness Division had a hearing on Feb. 11, 2022 beginning at 10:30am. The hearing focused on HF 3210, legislation authored by Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL – St. Paul) that would expand eligibility for the Homework Starts with Home program to children under the age of five and their families. Currently, $1.75 million per year is allocated towards the program, but the Governor’s budget proposes a new base budget of $10 million per year for the program. 

Committee members listened to expert testimony from the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness, as well as guest speaker Dr. Janette Herbers, associate professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Villanova University. Each speaker testified to the detrimental impacts of homelessness on children, and to the importance of stable housing in fostering childhood wellbeing and healthy development. Notable facts from the presentations include: 

  • An estimated 300-400 infants among families receiving public assistance in Minnesota experience homelessness at any given time. 
  • Nationally, ~1.4 million children in public schools are experiencing homelessness. 
  • Nationally, 1 in 12 children accessing Head Start programs are experiencing homelessness. 

Before the meeting was adjourned, committee members voted to approve the A-1 amendment to House File 3210. 

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