Rochester, MN  (KROC AM News) - A decision may be made within a few weeks on a new Rochester housing project designed specifically for single mothers.

The Olmsted County Housing and Redevelopment Authority will discuss a funding request for the project Tuesday. A vote is expected at its May 15th meeting.

The project involves the Jeremiah Program.

It is proposing to construct a three-story building that would include 40 units of affordable rental housing with services for single mothers and their children. The program is seeking an HRA rental assistance subsidy for half of the units for a period of 10 years (2020-2029). Based on staff analysis, the cost would be approximately $160,000-$170,000 annually. The money would come from the HRA levy.

The building would be located on property near Lourdes High School that is being donated by Jack and Mary Ann Remick.

So what is the Jeremiah Program? Here is information from their website:

Jeremiah Program offers one of the nation’s most successful strategies for transforming families from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time. Jeremiah prepares determined single mothers to excel in the workforce, readies their children to succeed in school, and reduces generational dependence on public assistance.

Since 1998, Jeremiah Program has built four multi-story residential facilities for low-income female-headed households. In addition to Jeremiah’s four residential sites (Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN, Austin, TX and Fargo, ND), Jeremiah has non-residential projects underway in Boston, MA and Brownsville, NY. Jeremiah’s national staff conduct research and special projects and provide infrastructure support that stimulates continuous program excellence for all Jeremiah communities.  Affordable & Safe Housing serves as the essential anchor for mothers and their young children to grow as families, succeed as students, and prepare for career-track pofessions. eremiah residents pay no more than 30% of their income for rent and utilities, a significant factor in making it possible to pursue their post-secondary education and graduate from the program into a career-track position and independent housing.

The needs for Jeremiah Program in the greater Rochester Area identified are described below.

In Olmsted County, 39.7% of single mothers with children under the age of 5 live in poverty, compared to 1.3 % of their married-couple counterparts. Housing is a significant barrier for single mothers to move out of poverty with 48% of people who rent in Olmsted County considered “cost-burdened.”

The 2016 report by Greater Minnesota Housing Fund indicates the need for affordable housing in Olmsted County has reached the “crisis” level. The benchmark for moving families to prosperity is high; the cost of living for a single parent family with one child in Olmsted County is $45,826.1 More than ever before a college degree is a predictor for family prosperity.

News update:  Rochester is reviewing applications for a new fire chief.

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