Greater Twin Cities United Way believes that a safe and stable home is a critical part of everyone’s success in life, not just because it provides the basic need of shelter, but because of those things we often take for granted: a kitchen table for your children to do their homework, a closet to hang your clothes in after a hard day of work, a refrigerator to keep the food that keeps you and your family healthy.
Unfortunately, for over 9,000 people in our state, the dream of a safe home isn’t a reality, which makes our goals for our community that much more important. We can all imagine a world where each child can focus on her schoolwork instead of worrying where she’s going to be sleeping that night. We can all imagine a world where a youth can work towards their goals and aspirations in their first apartment. We can all imagine a world where a mom can study for her career credential at her own kitchen counter. And we all know we have the time, resources, and human kindness to make that happen.
Governor Mark Dayton has declared today Housing for All Minnesotans Day in the state of Minnesota, which makes it a great time to reflect on our successes and look forward to the work we need to do. Despite the lingering effects of the recession and a decrease in affordable housing, we’ve seen homelessness go down in our state. More people are stably housed, and the hard work of our partners, our volunteers, and others across the state have made a huge difference in thousands of lives.
The task ahead of us will require hard work, but we know if we come together, we can make it happen. Our Home for Good volunteer events have proven how big an impact our volunteers can have. Our $3.5 million dollar investment in supportive housing this year will provide housing for over 1,000 families and services for over 3,000 youth. The support of our donors and volunteers is indispensable to this work, and so many youth and families would be struggling without it.
But the work we need to do requires more resources and shifts in our state policy. Greater Twin Cities United Way enthusiastically endorses the Homes for All policy agenda, the product of conversation from providers and funders across the state to improve housing outcomes for us all. This agenda will increase funding available for homeless children and families, provide more resources for homeless seniors, and make the rental rebate system fairer for low-income individuals.
We’ve made great strides, but we have a lot of work ahead of us. On Housing for All Minnesotans Day, we thank you and all our partners for your commitment to this work. Through our collective kindness, we can make the dream of a safe and stable home a reality for everyone. Collectively, we are unstoppable.
Sam Blackwell oversees United Way’s Housing Stability goal area, including the work of the Arise Project. Sam is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and has lived in the Twin Cities for a decade; he has a strong commitment to improving our community and to helping build pathways out of poverty in our community.