Greater Twin Cities United Way welcomed Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey as part of our Executive Leadership Series, hosted by Emerging Leaders. This series brings together young professionals, community leaders, and corporate executives to explore critical community issues.
Mayor Frey led a passionate conversation on the future of the Twin Cities and shared his views on how Minneapolis has an opportunity to be a nationwide leader in affordable housing and equitable city planning. Mayor Frey has dedicated $40 million to affordable housing in his 2019 budget—more than triple past levels.
“I’m a believer that housing is a right,” he said. “About 8.5% of our public-school-age population is experiencing homelessness and an even higher percentage is seeing severe housing instability.”
According to Mayor Frey, a bridge needs to be built to cover the gap of affordable housing.
“We need deeply affordable housing so people who are experiencing homelessness have the next rung on the ladder to pull themselves out. Right now, they don’t have that rung,” he said.
United Way knows there’s a long way to go when it comes to ensuring all our residents have a safe and stable place to live. We fund 15 youth housing providers and invest in partnerships that provide both short and long-term housing as well as advocate for affordable housing.
A common misperception is that people who are homeless are not working—but in fact, many who are working full-time still do not qualify for affordable housing.
“Even with a job, there is not the supply of that deeply affordable housing. We, collectively, are perpetually keeping people as homeless,” Mayor Frey said.
He also spoke about how affordable housing exists predominantly in a handful of areas around the city like North Minneapolis and Seward—and how that needs to expand.
“We want affordable housing not just in one area of the city—we want it to be all over,” Mayor Frey said. “People should to be able to live in the neighborhood of their choosing. The socioeconomic fabric is enhanced when there is diversity in housing throughout every single neighborhood.”
The mayor said while the city is in the midst of a housing crisis, he believes the government, private sector, and philanthropic sector are equipped to tackle the challenge together.
“I can’t tell you how helpful Greater Twin Cities United Way has been in this mission,” he said. “They are doing important work that leads to change, and right now in the Twin Cities we need to have change.”
United Way Emerging Leaders make a lasting difference in our community, while networking with new people and developing new leadership skills. Members have collectively raised millions for United Way’s Community Impact Fund, helping all people in the Twin Cities reach their full potential through greater access to education, jobs and human services. Learn more and get involved!
Jenna Bennett is a brand strategist at Greater Twin Cities United Way, where she enjoys crafting written content for multiple GTCUW channels including web, email, social media, and print. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter @jennasbennett.