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Rainbow Build highlights housing challenges for LGBTQ community

Rainbow Build highlights housing challenges for LGBTQ community

In the last two weeks of August, more than 100 volunteers participated in the 9th annual Rainbow Build, which raises awareness for issues involving affordable housing in the LGBTQ community. It’s an opportunity for LGBTQ volunteers and allies to spend a day building with us and learning about the unique housing challenges that impact this community.

Anne Elliott-Thul, Twin Cities Habitat’s Senior Manager of Volunteer and Donor Development, helped start this special build week which grows each year. On the significance of Rainbow Build, Anne says, "Access to safe, decent, and affordable housing is necessary for all families. Many obstacles faced by LGBTQ people can limit that accessibility. Rainbow Build has given Habitat volunteers and staff a deeper understanding of these obstacles, what other organizations are doing to face them, and how we can be a part of the solution."

2023 Rainbow build speaker-web-1

Ryan Berg from Avenues for Homeless Youth/ConnectQT speaks to Rainbow Build volunteers over their lunch break.

One exciting aspect of Rainbow Build is the lunchtime conversation. Each day during the two build weeks, there is a featured speaker from an organization that works with the LGBTQ community. This year, volunteers heard speakers from: Avenues for Homeless Youth, Minnesota Transplant Project, YouthLink, QUEERSPACE Collective, Open Arms of Minnesota, Clare Housing, and Transforming Families. Speakers provided information about their organizations' work to decrease barriers and increase equity for the LGBTQ community and fielded great questions from the engaged audience of volunteers.

Hannah Edwards, Executive Director of Transforming Families, said, "Sharing about Transforming Families with Twin Cities Habitat volunteers was so enriching. I learned from Habitat staff about the Build Forward Together campaign to advance Black homeownership and then had the chance to educate folks about the barriers faced by families supporting trans youth. These intersectional connections are so important to ensuring that everyone in our community has a safe place to call home."

Another important part of Rainbow Build is Habitat's profit-sharing with the organizations that educate our volunteers and staff at the build. Our community-centric fundraising approach centers our vision of a more equitable community in which ours is not the only important mission and we don't need to be in competition for funds. Supporting other nonprofit organizations' work moves us all toward a more equitable future. Toward that end, Habitat shares all funds raised for Rainbow Build equally among partner organizations.

Twin Cities Habitat's Rainbow Build helps bring together advocates for justice across multiple intersecting issues. Thanks to the volunteers who spent the day on a Habitat construction site and to speakers who shared their organizations' work!

A person in a pink bandana using a saw.
A bearded person wearing a safety vest and goggles painting trim.

 

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