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Housing is too expensive for many families, they need help to thrive and Minnesota needs thriving families by Ann Treacy
March 14, 2019, 12:18 am
Filed under: St Paul

Today I attended Homeless Day on the Hill. Mostly I attended the press conference because the Committee Session was full, the overflow room was full and even the halls were filled with people watching the session of the Health and Human Services Finance Division. They were talking about HF1043, increasing shelter, services and housing.

The issue is that people can’t live with the MFIP subsidies provided. MFIP subsidy is unemployment insurance for jobs that don’t provide it; its income for children and hasn’t increased since 1986 – $437/month for a parent and child. We heard from one woman (video below) who lives in Duluth on $532 in support a month; she has two children. Her story was that one morning, about a year ago, she woke up with seizures. Now work is an issue. We heard from several people today. The Street Voices for Change folks had a lot of experience understanding how and why people needed help. The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office had stories of what happened when everyone worked together as happened in St Paul during some of our coldest days.

BUT the video I’ll start with is my friend, homeless advocate, Monica Nilsson. She was interviewed (unprepared, except she’s always prepared) by the media on general questions about homelessness – such as how does homelessness happen and what policies could help.

Very simply, homelessness happens because housing costs more than many people can afford, especially when you factor in the need for first and sometimes last month deposit. There isn’t enough affordable housing to go around – especially for families. Homelessness has increased 40 percent in the last 4 years. And it’s not just an urban issue. It may seem like that, especially after last summer and the homeless encampments in St Paul and Minneapolis but one-third of homeless Minnesotans are in Cities, one-third in suburbs and one-third in rural areas.

Normally I’d just post this on Facebook – but Facebook is broken today. (Which means no livestreaming of meetings, which means loss of remote civic engagement – but that’s another post!) I don’t want to lose the thoughts. And on a personal note, it’s fun when you see your friend be so good at her job.


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