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Building Community Blog

Guest blog written by Shannon Twiss, Lead Volunteer Coordinator, and Greta Gaetz, Local/Regional Policy & Advocacy Coordinator

Each year, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps and Senior Corps) releases a comprehensive report on volunteer trends throughout the United States. The 2018 Volunteering in America report found that Minnesota ranks #2 for volunteering among states, and the Twin Cities Metro ranks #1 for volunteering among US cities. 

What do you think about when you hear the word advocacy? For some people, advocacy might sound broad, unfamiliar, and even intimidating. Twin Cities Habitat thinks of advocacy as an important tool we can use to help achieve our mission to eliminate poverty housing from the Twin Cities and to make decent, affordable shelter for all people a matter of conscience. But what is advocacy, and how does it help Habitat work towards our goals?

It was halfway through our Habitat advocacy day in D.C., and we were really starting to feel the five miles of walking. Our group of eight Minnesotans had split up to meet with our Representatives in Congress, but we were now back together in the offices of Minnesota Senator Tina Smith. She would be joining us in a minute, but for now we were gathered around a conference table, talking with her staffer, Adam Schiff, who focused on housing issues.

Guest blog by Greta Gaetz
Local/Regional Policy & Advocacy Coordinator


The 2018 midterm elections were held on Tuesday, November 6, and the outcomes greatly impact the work of Habitat. At the federal level, the House of Representatives changed control from a Republican to Democratic majority. House Democrats have offered strong support for protecting our federal funding within the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) budget, and for AmeriCorps, and this new majority should help Habitat efforts to secure funding increases in the coming years. In addition, this shift will lead to new leadership and committee chairs. The Habitat Advocacy Team will look out for impactful committee assignments and Minnesota representation in committee leadership in January 2019.

Guest blog by Pam Johnson
Policy and Advocacy Manager

You spoke up, and our federal elected officials listened. Thanks to the strong advocacy work of so many Housing Heroes in Minnesota and throughout the nation, our federal funding for Habitat programs received a boost in funding this past fiscal year. These funds are critical to our ability to create more homeownership opportunities for Minnesotans each year, with each public dollar leveraging ten private sector dollars.  Thank you.

Happy World Habitat Day!

Over 30 years ago, the United Nations established the first Monday in October as World Habitat Day. 

According to the U.N., this day is meant for us "to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It also reminds us we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns."

It's a day for reflection and action. It's for us to think globally, and act locally. 

Guest Blog by Caitlin Magistad
Local & Regional Policy Coordinator

Happy National Voter Registration Day! Held on the fourth Tuesday of September starting in 2012, National Voter Registration Day is an opportunity for communities to celebrate our democracy and raise awareness about the importance of voting. Our local, state, and federal elected officials make important decisions that impact our everyday lives—including where we live.

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