MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thousands of fans are coming to the Twin Cities for Super Bowl LII.
Those fans will need hotel rooms, which is causing some problems for the St. Paul School District.
Nearly a dozen homeless families in the district rely on motels for housing, but come Super Bowl time, those families are going to need a new place to call home.
The needs of students extend beyond the classroom. What they face at home affects academic success.
In St. Paul Public Schools, about 2,000 students are experiencing homelessness. Anne McInerney supervises the school district’s program that works with homeless students and their families.
“We do have a section of our students that are living in cars, or riding the train, or are staying in tents and campers overnight because they don’t have adequate shelter,” McInerney said.
The Family Service Center in Maplewood is one of the places homeless families find shelter until they can get back on their feet. But there aren’t nearly enough rooms in places like this to handle the demand.
That is why Ramsey County contracts with motels — places that are now making rooms available for the influx of visitors who are headed to the Super Bowl.
Homeless families on a waitlist to get into a shelter have been told they have to vacate their motels for the 10 days leading up to the big game.
“Because the Super Bowl is coming into town, the motels that Ramsey County has been using are not available, and so then the families ended up being displaced from that,” McInerney said.
The school district considered opening up a vacant school to provide temporary shelter to families, but then the county was able to find alternative spaces for those affected.
The approximately $12,000 in donations they received to help out will now be used to assist homeless families with their other needs, which include cots, blankets, pillows, food and transportation for homeless students.
District officials say most of their homeless students are living with a parent or another guardian. These are working families, but they cannot find affordable housing.