On April 29, 112 Housing Heroes from seven Habitat affiliates across the state and Habitat Minnesota gathered at the Capitol to advocate for affordable housing at Habitat on the Hill.
As an energetic crowd filled the L’Etoile du Nord Vault Room, Twin Cities Habitat CEO Chris Coleman kicked off the morning program by reminding us of the need for safe, stable, and affordable homeownership opportunities that help families thrive. Habitat homeowner Juanita Jensen shared that her family is celebrating 25 years of partnership with Twin Cities Habitat! As one participant stated, Juanita’s story provided a “powerful reminder of why the work we do, including this advocacy, is so important.”
Two Rivers Habitat Executive Director Kevin Worden addressed the broad impact of Habitat affiliates statewide, and Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho and Representative Alice Hausman further motivated the crowd with their passion for affordable housing and ongoing support of our mission. Rounding out our series of inspirational speakers were surprise guests Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan! They each provided a strong endorsement of Habitat for Humanity and the importance of affordable homeownership.
From L to R: Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho, Twin Cities Habitat CEO Chris Coleman, Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, Governor Tim Walz, and Twin Cities Habitat homeowner Juanita Jensen raise their scarves in support of Homes for All.
Prepared with training from Twin Cities Habitat Policy and Advocacy Manager Pam Johnson, advocates ventured out to engage with legislators and seek their support for critical investments in the Challenge Grant and Workforce Homeownership Minnesota. Habitat staff, volunteers, and homeowners enthusiastically pulled legislators from the floor and held meetings outside the House and Senate chambers. Participants found legislators from both parties approachable, open, and willing to listen as the need for affordable housing is a shared concern.
Constituent Laura Oyen meets with Representative Alice Hausman (right).
Senator Jim Abeler (left) hears from Twin Cities Habitat Policy & Advocacy Manager Pam Johnson.
Housing Heroes met with 80 legislators in all, including 33 senators and 47 representatives. We made legislative asks and invited legislators to visit Habitat affiliates or volunteer on site. By making direct connections with legislators, Housing Heroes build long lasting relationships and encourage continued support. As one participant stated, “seeing how many people support housing renews my commitment to and faith in what we do.”
Thank you to all the advocates, speakers, and volunteers who came together to make Habitat on the Hill 2019 a success! Legislators still need to hear about the importance of affordable homeownership in each corner of Minnesota. Want to help us move our affordable housing agenda across the finish line? Please join us at Unite for Housing, the Homes for All Spring Rally in the Capitol Rotunda at 2:00 p.m. on May 6!