Rebecca Melang, CSH Program Manager in MN, testified before the Minnesota House on behalf of Homes for All on Tuesday. The key areas she focused on, within the Homes for All campaign, included requests for:
- 8 million dollars for The Housing Trust Fund, including a pilot for highly mobile youth;
- 5 million dollar increase to Bridges, ensuring that people who are experiencing homelessness and impacted by mental health challenges have access to stable, safe, affordable housing;
- 75 million dollar increase for the Challenge Fund, financing workforce housing; and
- 1 million dollar increase for the Single Family Rehab program, allowing seniors to stay in the communities where they already have support networks in place
In her testimonial, Ms. Melang highlighted that “quality housing is the foundation for all communities across Minnesota to reach their full potential. Each community needs the full continuum of housing to ensure individuals’ and family’s needs are met, this continuum consists of supportive housing for the most vulnerable among us, affordable housing, workforce housing, rental housing and homeownership.”
In her commentary, Ms. Melang included examples of households who would benefit from the policy priorities Homes for All has set forward. For example, the Housing Trust Fund pilot program for highly mobile youth will impact Minnesotans, just starting out in their lives. Many of these young people under the age of 21 are parenting small children, and this program can significantly improve the outcomes for these young families at a critical juncture in their lives.
One such family consists of a mother who is working full time as an administrative assistant at Cargil, with four children including a newborn. They stayed at the overflowing Church’s united homeless shelter in Moorhead, where many of the families do not have a room of their own. This woman’s children had no place to study and struggled to make it to their after school activities. This was one of the lucky families accepted into the pilot program through the Clay County HRA, and the older children are able to complete their homework each night at the kitchen table while the younger children play in the family room. According to the Wilder Research Homeless, Survey, almost half of Minnesotans experiencing homelessness are under 21, so programs like this are critically important to ending generational homelessness.