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Advocating for Federal Policies Here at Home

Greta Gaetz
Posted by Greta Gaetz on 11:00 AM on October 4, 2019

It takes a village to advance the mission of Habitat, and many partners come together to support this work including businesses, donors, local communities, and volunteers. Habitat also values the role of elected officials at all levels of government in advocating for and investing in public funding programs that make our work possible.

Craig 2Representative Angie Craig poses with Habitat staff and volunteers on site in Cottage Grove

Twin Cities Habitat maintains relationships with our federal Senators and Representatives throughout the year including spending an annual advocacy day in Washington DC. When our Members of Congress return to Minnesota during the month of August to meet with constituents in their home districts, Habitat engages with elected officials and staff in the seven-county metro area to educate them about our programs and share our public policy priorities for the coming year.

They best way for our Members of Congress to become immersed in this work is to tour a Habitat build site in their district. This year, we were thrilled to host a site visit with Second District Congresswoman Angie Craig and staff from her offices in MN and DC. Representative Craig and her team met us in Cottage Grove, and she easily jumped into conversations with Habitat site staff and constituent volunteers.

Craig 1

During the visit, Representative Craig toured the home and met with Site Supervisor Melissa Steiner, who explained Habitat’s homebuilding process and shared the impact that homeownership has had on families who have bought homes with Habitat in the same community. 

At the end of our meeting, we outlined specific federal funding sources that Habitat accesses to expand homeownership options for families throughout Minnesota, including:

  • Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP)
    • SHOP is used to acquire land and improve the infrastructure of homes for first-time homeowners.
  • HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME)
    • HOME is used to repair, rehabilitate, or build owner-occupied housing and supports land acquisition, infrastructure improvements, and down payment assistance.
  • USDA 502 direct and 504 loan programs
    • Section 502 direct loans are used to build or repair homes in rural areas and can finance the purchase and preparation of sites. Section 504 loans help very low-income households repair, improve, or modernize their homes.
  • Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)
    • CNCS oversees all national service programs including AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps members serve critical roles engaging families, building capacity, and mobilizing volunteers.

Craig 3Policy & Advocacy Manager Greta Gaetz, Representative Angie Craig, Chief Development Officer Cathy Lawrence, Site Supervisor Melissa Steiner, and AmeriCorps Member Joe Milton

We appreciated the opportunity to meet with Representative Craig and the chance to highlight ways that she can support affordable housing programs by advocating for increased funding levels through her position in Congress. By partnering in this critical work, our elected officials are better positioned to expand access to homeownership and help ensure families across Minnesota have a safe place to live.

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Tags: Advocacy, 2019

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