At Greater Twin Cities United Way, we believe that secure, stable housing is foundational to the health, safety and well-being of Minnesota families. That’s why we’re advocating for policies that promote housing stability and prevent homelessness at the Minnesota Capitol this legislative session.
One of our valued partners in this work is Homes for All, a statewide coalition that strives to advance shared policy initiatives that lead to housing stability for all Minnesotans. On January 8, Homes for All hosted a virtual legislative kick-off event for housing advocates across the state to learn about their legislative priorities, connect with other people who care about housing issues and get energized to make a difference.
Amplifying Community Voices through Coalitions
Building thoughtful, lasting change that ensures affordable housing for all Minnesotans cannot be done alone. Working in coalition with other groups that share our goals aligns critical priorities to address community challenges as one collective voice, further advancing effective policy change. This could be seen early in the pandemic, when United Way worked in coalition with Homes For All to advocate for $100 million in emergency housing assistance. We also partnered with the state of Minnesota to leverage United Way’s 211 Resource Helpline as the go-to resource for people accessing those funds, as well as other resources around housing, food and utility assistance.
The event included a variety of participants, from nonprofit staff and state legislators to people who have previously or are currently experiencing housing instability. Speakers shared their lived experiences and voiced challenges around finding affordable housing options – particularly close to public transportation – across the state, as well as dealing with the sudden and permanent impacts of evictions.
Transforming the Evictions Process
Minnesota is currently one of only seven states in the U.S. that does not require a landlord to formally notify a tenant before filing an eviction. Requiring this would allow renters more time to remedy the situation – be it through finding alternative payment resources, negotiating an agreement with the landlord, or quitting the lease and vacating the unit – and is critical to reducing the filing of unnecessary eviction notices. In 2021, we will continue to work in coalition with Homes for All as we work towards evictions reform.
This legislative session, United Way and its coalition partners are calling for legislation requiring a 14-day pre-eviction filing notice and record expungement reforms for evictions related to nonpayment of rent to prevent more people from sliding into homelessness.
As Home for All’s Policy Co-Chair Kari Johnson stated: “We know that there are people out there who could benefit from these policy updates. They could be a gamechanger for many.”
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You can also learn more about our 2021 policy and advocacy priorities here.