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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A socially distanced outdoor ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at noon today to officially signal the opening of the Jeremiah Program's campus in Rochester.

The Rochester facility is the seventh Jeremiah Program campus in the nation and is currently the largest. While the ribbon-cutting was held today, the local campus actually opened in July when it began offering housing and other services to single mothers and their children. The 65,000 square foot facility has 40 housing units and it’s anticipated it will be full by the end of the year.

The Jeremiah Program is designed to support single mothers and their children by providing assistance and counseling as they pursue educational goals to attain the skills they need to enter the workforce and end the cycle of poverty for their families.

“The social and economic factors that perpetuate cycles of poverty can be complex and include race, gender, access to education, stable housing and systemic barriers to economic mobility that can seem insurmountable,” said JoMarie Morris, Executive Director. “Jeremiah Program’s holistic two-generational model empowers families to mitigate barriers by making available the resources they need to redefine and reframe what is possible. After five years of cross sector collaboration that included a feasibility study, focus groups and fundraising, the opening of the Rochester-Southeast Minnesota Jeremiah Campus is a shining example of how communities can come together to disrupt generational poverty,” said Morris.

The $16-million fundraising campaign to pay for the construction of the campus is ongoing. A news release says the pandemic has left it about $150,000 short of its goal and the Rochester program is facing an operating budget shortfall due to the cancellation of two large community events.

A virtual grand opening for the general public will take place on the evening of November 10th and will include a virtual guided tour of the campus and interviews with participants, along with music from Jeremiah Program Alum Ashley Dubose.

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