Contact: Liz Skree, Greater Twin Cities United Way, firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-334-7764
Greater Twin Cities United Way Unveils Policy and Advocacy Agenda for 2022 State Legislative Session
Focus on the benefits cliff, housing stability and economic opportunity, informed by 95 nonprofit partners across the 9-county metro area
MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 25, 2022) — Greater Twin Cities United Way today unveiled its policy priorities and advocacy agenda for the 2022 Minnesota state legislative session. Informed by its 95 nonprofit partners from across the 9-county metro area, United Way’s priorities are focused on advancing equitable policies and funding that support a community where all people thrive, regardless of income, race or place. This includes addressing the impacts of the benefits cliff to support pathways to economic independence for working families, expanding culturally sensitive wraparound social services to prevent homelessness, and supporting employment services and career pathways to advance family-sustaining wages. United Way will share relevant information with decisionmakers, including real-time data from its 211 resource helpline and examples collected from its nonprofit partners.
“Greater Twin Cities United Way takes a ‘yes, and’ approach to our work. While we work to amplify the efforts of our nonprofit partners who meet today’s pressing needs, we’re also advocating for policies that get to the root of the challenges we face as a region — to support lasting, positive change for individuals, families and whole communities,” said Acooa Ellis, Senior Vice President of Community Impact at Greater Twin Cities United Way.
In Fall 2021, United Way solicited input from its nonprofit partners to shape its 2022 policy priorities. Their top three issues were preventing homelessness, advancing career pathways that support family sustaining wages, and addressing the benefits cliff — when a small increase in income results in the loss of one or more government benefits, such as food stamps, housing or child care assistance, leading to a net loss of family income. These programmatic and systemic barriers often lead to an ongoing cycle of poverty for many families. In contrast, smoothing out these “cliffs” will provide a pathway for families to gain economic independence and support a thriving state economy.
“No one navigates poverty in isolated systems. This is why our advocacy agenda reflects a series of interrelated policy issues — the benefits cliff, housing stability and economic opportunity — to drive lasting, systems-level change to support families now and into the future,” said Acooa Ellis.
In addition to soliciting input from its community partners, United Way also leverages real-time data from its 211 resource helpline to inform its policy priorities. After COVID-19 hit the state in March 2020, housing/rent support was reported as the No. 1 need by callers to 211. In response, United Way successfully advocated for millions of dollars in federal and state funding for rent assistance for Minnesotans. In 2021, the state’s RentHelpMN program partnered with United Way’s 211 resource helpline to provide applicant information and support services, fielding over 195,000 calls and facilitating over $285 million in rent assistance payments.
Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 2022 Policy and Advocacy Agenda can be found at gtcuw.org/advocacy.
About Greater Twin Cities United Way: Greater Twin Cities United Way unites changemakers, advocates for social good and develops solutions to address the challenges no one can solve alone to create a community where all people thrive, regardless of income, race or place. The organization serves the community through five key offerings: its 211 resource helpline, innovation initiatives, nonprofit partnerships, advocacy work with legislators, and business and individual donor partnerships. For more information, visit www.gtcuw.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.