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Minneapolis moving to address student homelessness

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Minneapolis officials say a program to help students and their families avoid homelessness is already benefiting 150 school kids.

The Stable Homes Stable Schools initiative is a joint effort of the city, its public schools, housing authority and other organizations.

The initial goal is to serve 650 students over three years. The program focuses on 15 elementary schools where many students have been homeless. Students' families can receive financial help to stay in their current homes or to find new places to live.

Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Ed Graff said homelessness harms student learning. "We want to prevent it as much as possible and then intervene when it's occurring," he said. "So, if they are homeless, we're trying find a stable space for them."

Cityview Community School in the northwest corner of the city is among the schools with the highest rates of student homelessness.

"This program will help our students stay at this school and not worry about anything, home stability, a place to stay every night and not worry," said principal Renee Montague.

The city and housing authority are providing about $5 million toward the effort this year. Thousands of students have been without homes, and officials hope to expand the program.