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DAVID JOLES � djoles@startribune.com Coon Rapids, MN - April 27, 2010- Brittni(cq) Jones, 18, and her daughter Alissa, 21 months, sat on an infant mattress in a barren bedroom and seemed to marvel at their good fortune. They were no longer homeless. Jones got an apartment in Coon Rapids with the help of Karrie Schaaf, the Youth Development Director for the Emma B. Howe Family YMCA and a federal grant under the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). The program provides supplemental funding for an apartment for up to one year while helping the client with education and job training. Jones and her daughter had been "couch hopping" for the past few months and had stayed in five different places with friends or relatives. Lately she had been calling around to homeless shelters looking for a bed when she me Schaaf. "I started getting stressed out," Jones said when she wondered where she and her daughter would be staying next. "I felt nothing was going right." After her first day in her new apartment: "I feel like I don't have any worries." "She's very grateful and very patient," Schaaf said of Jones. "If I could have physically done a cartwheel I would have," Schaaf said she felt when she learned that Jones would be getting grant money for the apartment. On her first day in the new place Alissa was drawing furiously. "She's actually making herself at home," said Jones, who is working on earning a GED. While they have no furniture except for the infant mattress, mother and daughter will be getting some soon with the help of Bridging Inc. and the YMCA. According to the most recent study, homelessness among 18-21 year-olds in Anoka County has risen 40 percent in the last year. Jones admits to feeling desperate during their journey but gives this advice: "You can't give up. You can't doubt yourself." In this photo]- Jones and her daughter Alissa play on the first day in their new apartment.

David Joles, DML - Star Tribune

A Fresh Start

  • Article by: DAVID JOLES
  • Star Tribune
  • May 11, 2010 - 8:25 AM

On an infant mattress in a barren bedroom, Brittni Jones, 18, and her daughter Alissa, 21 months, seemed to marvel at their good fortune. They were no longer homeless. Jones and her daughter had been “couch hopping” for the past few months and had stayed in five different places with friends or relatives. Lately, Jones had been calling around to homeless shelters, looking for a bed. “I started getting stressed out,” she said. “I felt nothing was going right.”

Then she met Karrie Schaaf, YMCA youth development director, who helped her apply for a federal grant under the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, which provides supplemental funding for an apartment for up to one year while helping the client with education and job training. Jones is working on earning her GED. “She’s very grateful and very patient,” Schaaf said. After the first day in their new apartment in Coon Rapids, Jones said, “I feel like I don’t have any worries.” For her part, Alissa was drawing furiously. “She’s actually making herself at home,” said her mom. Jones admits to feeling desperate during their journey but gives this advice: “You can’t give up. You can’t doubt yourself.”

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