It was a Friday evening, April 15th, just a couple of weeks ago, when I got frantic texts from a friend: “Where can I get info on renter’s rights, specifically notice for rent raises?”
She told me that she received a text from her landlord stating that her rent was going up several hundred dollars, resulting in a 47% increase to her lease. Her landlord contacted her, via text message.
The text didn’t have much information at all so she didn’t know if it was effective May 1 or another date. She didn’t know if it was legal notice, she didn’t know what she was going to do. It was Friday night, so she wouldn’t be able to contact HomeLine until Monday. She was stressed. She had thought her home was safe, stable, and affordable – the location of dinner parties and laughter with family, just became incredibly nerve-racking.
I was able to assure my friend that her rent was not increasing on May 1, in 15 days, like she originally feared, but that it was coming and that she needed a plan. Luckily she has family, resources and me to rely upon to help her figure out next steps and options. But this is a situation that too many members in our community face.
The stress of not having affordable housing is real. One in eight Minnesotans pay more than half of their income towards housing. And too many of us spend a lot of our energy trying to figure out where we are living, instead of focusing on school, friends, work, and family. Many of the people worried about where they are going to live and where they are going to sleep that night are kids. In fact, half of the Minnesotans experiencing homelessness are children and youth under 21.
This is why we gathered together this week as part of Habitat OFF the Hill – MN 2016. Because we want to make sure that all of us have access to safe, stable, and affordable housing. In one night, we contacted over half of the legislators at the Capitol – amazing. At Habitat, we know it will take all of us working together in partnership to make a difference in our communities, including our important government partner.
We know we all have a role to play and this year again, we are proud to partner with Homes for All to work towards these two goals.
- Support $130 million in bonds for housing (HF2784/SF2410)
- Prevent cuts to the Challenge Fund (HF3931). Our group made almost 200 phone calls and wrote letters directly to their legislators. Many of the youth decorated cookies writing Homes for All. It was an exciting night of learning, laughing, and making a difference. If you were not able to make it, don’t worry, you can still take action right now. Thank you for joining with us and raising your voice as a Habitat Housing Hero! We couldn’t do this work without all of us working together!
Policy and Advocacy Manager
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity