In a foreclosure age there are many employment opportunities – one being supervising the school attendance of homeless children. Ruben Rosario is busy trying to get the kids to school anyhow – by bus, van or even in a cab.
On any weekday Marto Hurrle is too busy simultaneously managing two phones – the mobile and the landline. Roughly she gets 200 calls per week from the guardians of homeless children as well as from members of the staff, drivers of buses and cabs. She has to locate the buses and connect it with the waiting children who frequently change their addresses.
The interplay on the dual phones goes on for about two hours. Hurrle is the coordinator linking the shelter with Minneapolis Public Schools. It is funded by the feds and involves a kind of work which few people know about. Everyday of the week she ensues that homeless children across Minneapolis and also many from the metro area of the Twin Cities living in temporary shelter somehow get to school and return back.
Hurrle has on her hands a huge job with only a small break. She said, “It is a six-and-a-half to eight-hour normal part of the day when the rest of their world seems to be in chaos.” In 1990 she had been in charge of 50 children. That was the first year of her job. In 1993 the job became mandatory by law. Soon the line of thinking took over that it is mandatory for society to provide education and other related services for the homeless families and their children who for some reason or the other need “fixed, regular and adequate night time residence.” This was during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan. Late Rep Vento, a much respected politician, was one of the authors of this law. At that time he had no idea how important that law would become after two decades.
It started with 50 children. Today Hurrle has to keep track of 1,806 schooling going homeless kids with the help of a network of vehicles. At times of emergency taxi cabs are used. In 2009 the number has already crossed 2,627.
Hurrle says that foreclosures are to blame for this up tick. The numbers of homeless are inaccurate because many are without homes although they do not register at the shelters. These families either live in motels or in their cars. Some camp with relatives and friends. When the going becomes impossible they ultimately have to knock on the doors of the over cramped shelters.