Family Thrives In HRA Program

From Homelessness To Their Own Home

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One year ago, Moorhead joined St. Paul and Minneapolis in a program that helps find homes for homeless kids and families. Now, those families are living a much different lifestyle.

“It’s hard to think that you’ll ever not have a place to call home for your kids,” expresses Kati Martino.

Her and her four children are one of 29 families taking part in the Clay County Housing Redevelopment Authority’s Cares For Kids program.

“When you have a child walk in and say I have my own bed I’ve never had my own bed, that’s pretty gratifying.,” says HRA Executive Director Dara Lee.

The two-year pilot program works extremely close with a select number of low-income families to help kids excel in school.

“Research has shown the more children move the lower their performance is and their outcomes in school,” Lee says.

Minnesota state funding allows the HRA to help people like Kati with living costs. She applied for the program, met the criteria and was accepted.

“We got really lucky. I know there were some families that were still waiting,” says Martino.

So ideally after two years, they can independently support themselves.

“Within the next year we should be off the program at the rate we’re going,” says Martino.

In a matter of one year, Kati and her family have transitioned from a homeless shelter to their own townhouse, just in time for her new baby Alliyah.

“The fact that we got that assistance and got out basically saved us,” Martino says.

Two of the 29 families have already transitioned off of the program. The HRA organization serves more than 600 families a month.