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Building Community Blog

Guest blog by Caitlin Magistad, Local & Regional Policy Coordinator
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity

Housing costs continue to increase across Minnesota, while incomes have not kept pace. According to a recent report from the Minnesota Housing Partnership, a full-time minimum wage earner can't afford a one-bedroom apartment in any of Minnesota's 87 counties, and at $18.82, Minnesota ranks #22 in the nation for the highest hourly wages required to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. Low vacancy rates, limited housing stock, and rising housing costs put pressure on low and moderate-income renters and home buyers alike, impacting families and communities across the state. Too many Minnesotans do not have access to safe, stable, affordable housing—together we can change that!

Minnesota suffers from some of the worst racial disparities in housing in the nation. A long history of both overt and subtle racist practices got us here. In 1968, Walter Mondale, who was representing Minnesota in the US Senate at the time, co-authored the Fair Housing Act (FHA). It was signed into law a week after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. For the first time in American law, discrimination was expressly forbidden in housing. But, 50 years on we are still a long way from what Mondale says is the FHA’s ultimate goal of an integrated society. He spoke about the FHA’s legacy from the offices of Dorsey & Whitney LLP, where he is Senior Counsel.

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.

The first time that Sharon Mason went to the State Capitol to advocate with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, here’s how she felt: “I had butterflies, I feared that I didn’t have enough expertise to talk to my legislators, I was somewhat intimidated by the largess and grandeur of my surroundings…and I didn’t even know where I was supposed to park.”

Now, Sharon regularly updates her legislators on the latest affordable housing news throughout the legislative session. She’s brought friends to the Capitol who are now passionate advocates as well. And she definitely knows where to park.

Guest Blog by Pam Johnson
Public Policy & Advocacy Manager

Team Advocacy is six weeks into the state legislative Session with a FULL Agenda! 

Our statewide Homes for All Coalition (200+ organizations) is working to secure and protect resources for affordable housing across the continuum, seeking $140 million in bonding and $10 million in appropriations from the state’s General Fund.

Guest Blog by Polina Montes De Oca
Twin Cities Habitat Staff

On February 14th, 350 Habitat affiliate staff and Habitat homeowners from all over the nation filled the Unites States Capitol to advocate for affordable housing resources with their members of Congress. Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) hosts Habitat on the Hill: DC on an annual basis, a two-day conference setting the political scene and equipping us to meet with our legislators. This year, I had the opportunity to participate in the event along with my colleagues Dennis Chick, our warehouse manager, Pam Johnson and Caitlin Magistad, our advocacy team staff, and Susan Haigh, our CEO. Did you know that Minnesota has a total of 30 Habitat affiliates? We also were joined by Rochester Area HFH Director Kevin Worden, Rice County HFH Dayna Norvold and Concordia Moorhead College Campus Chapter Angie Stahlmann.

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