An anonymous $10,000 donation provided seed funding for what appears to be the first school district-funded housing complex for homeless youth in the country, reported the Christian Science Monitor. The Maplewood Richmond Heights district near St. Louis acquired a home with enough space to house four homeless high school boys. A local clergyman worked with the school district’s superintendent to assure zoning officials and neighbors that students residing at the facility wouldn’t have criminal records. Volunteers have also helped the effort. According to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, nearly half of all homeless students are unable to attend school for the full year. Young men who drop out of school are much more likely to end up in prison, said the superintendent. The school board expects to spend about $34,000 annually on mortgage, insurance, and utility payments for the home, which is known as Joe’s Place. The expenditure seems reasonable, considering it costs at least as much to keep someone in prison for a year, which is where homeless young men are likely to end up if they drop out of school, the superintendent said.
The full story, Reading, Writing, and a Roof Overhead, was published on 02/01/2007 in Christian Science Monitor.