Guest blog by Caitlin Magistad
Twin Cities Habitat Staff
On April 26, more than 115 Habitat Housing Heroes took over the Minnesota Capitol to advocate for affordable housing at Habitat on the Hill MN 2018! Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity advocates for affordable housing policies and funding at the local, state, and federal levels because we know Habitat can't simply build our way out of our community's current housing affordability crisis. In order to achieve our mission to make decent, affordable shelter for all people a matter of conscience, it will take resources and commitments from public and private sectors alike to ensure that all our neighbors have a safe, stable place to live.
During Habitat on the Hill MN 2018, attendees heard from an array of inspiring speakers to get us ready for a day of advocacy: Sue Haigh, President and CEO of Twin Cities Habitat; Mary Tingerthal, Minnesota Housing Commissioner; Representative Alice Hausman; Senator David Senjem; and Chris Vosbeek, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Minnesota.
There were many powerful words throughout the morning, but no stories compared to Habitat homeowner Hunde's story. Hunde shared his experience of trying to buy a home for more than 6 years before partnering with TC Habitat, and how happy he was to choose a home in his preferred community of Lakeville, with a Habitat mortgage in our open market program. The Housing Heroes were fired-up and ready to meet with legislators after listening to Hunde's story!
After our morning program, folks took to the halls of the Capitol in our green t-shirts and new scarves. Schedules at the Legislature are unpredictable, and you could see the dedication of Housing Heroes, patiently waiting (sometimes for hours!) for an opportunity to meet even briefly with their legislators to share our asks:
- To support the Homes for All proposal to invest $140M in bonds for housing (SF 2939/HF 3125): to fund new housing construction and rehabilitation projects across Minnesota.
- To support the Workforce Homeownership MN bill (WHOM; SF 1497/HF 1535): to double the number of affordable homeownership opportunities statewide.
The day was extremely successful, and we made our presence known by meeting with more than 60 legislators from across Minnesota. We even had folks from several other Minnesota Habitat affiliates make the trip to the Capitol: North St. Louis County Habitat for Humanity, Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity, Fergus Falls Area Habitat for Humanity, Rice County Habitat for Humanity, Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity, and Habitat for Humanity Winona-Filmore Counties.
We were proud to swarm the Capitol making our voices heard, but there is room for more voices before session ends on May 21! Here’s what you can do:
- Send a note to your legislators to support bonds for housing and the WHOM bill
- Send a note to the Governor asking him to stay strong on affordable housing
- Come to the Capitol for a Homes for All rally on Tuesday, May 8!