The mission of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless is to generate policies, community support and local resources for housing and services to end homelessness in Minnesota.
We believe everyone deserves a safe, decent, affordable place to call home and that homelessness is preventable.
Many factors may cause homelessness including a health crisis, a lost job, a mismatch between income and housing costs, family violence, or a transition from an institutional setting back into a community.
Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless (MCH) exists to ensure the community supports are in place to prevent and address the root causes of homelessness.
We achieve our mission and vision through advocacy, technical assistance, and building public awareness. Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless is uniquely positioned as the hub of a statewide network of 150 homeless service providers and other concerned individuals and organizations across Minnesota. MCH has been the voice for people experiencing homelessness and for service providers in state and federal policy decision-making since 1984.
Guiding Advocacy Principles
- The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless believes that housing is a basic human right.
- A variety of housing and services are needed to address homelessness, and appropriations and tax expenditures used to subsidize housing should be targeted to those with the greatest need.
- Because homelessness cannot be separated from poverty, government must take an active role in ensuring everyone has enough income to afford housing and meet basic needs such as food and health care, or provide a safety net for those who cannot provide for their own basic needs.
- Strategies including intervention, outreach and prevention are needed to address homelessness and should include the systemic change needed to end homelessness.
- The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless supports access to affordable, quality, comprehensive health care.
- The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless strives to understand the complex obstacles to housing, and promote and improve service delivery capacity, quality and outcomes in partnership with funders, legislators, service providers and homeless people.
MCH’s governance structure includes our Board of Directors and organizational members.
Board of Directors
MCH’s board of directors is traditionally comprised of people who have experienced homelessness; experts in poverty reduction; and service providers. MCH elects new board members each summer. Strengthening the board of directors in the coming year will focus on diversifying the membership, proactively enlisting board members who can broaden our ties to community resources and add value to help MCH reach its goals in the coming years.
The Coalition is a membership-driven organization. Members play a central role in each of our successes they help us shape our legislative priorities, training opportunities and community education efforts. Organizational members pay dues ranging from $100-$400 depending on the organization’s annual budget. This investment provides members opportunities such as a unique role in our public policy work including helping to shape legislative priorities; access to coalition events; and regular communication on policies, funding opportunities, and trainings. Individual members join our movement by providing annual contributions to support our work.
Principles Guiding Our Advocacy
In November 2003, the Coalition adopted the following position statements to guide our advocacy efforts:
- Human Rights
The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless believes that housing is a basic human right, that those experiencing homelessness are entitled to exercise all other basic human rights, and that those experiencing homelessness are our greatest resource for planning its end.
Therefore, we oppose legislation, ordinances, policies or practices that diminish the fundamental right to safe, decent and affordable housing. This includes policies and practices that discriminate against a persons ability to secure safe, decent housing, that criminalize homelessness, or that turn people away from services in times of crisis.
The Coalition supports measures to promote equal education and voting rights for people experiencing homelessness.
The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless works with service providers, housing developers, cities and other entities to develop and maintain safe, decent, accessible housing affordable to low- and very low-income residents of Minnesota.
We believe in the need for a variety of housing types and the provision of related services that ensure the preservation, stability and affordability of housing for all residents of Minnesota.
Appropriations and tax expenditures used to subsidize housing should be targeted to those with the greatest need.
- Income Security
The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless recognizes that homelessness cannot be separated from the issue of poverty. The Coalition believes that government must take an active role in ensuring that everyone has enough income to afford housing and meet basic needs such as food and health care.
This includes maintaining a livable minimum wage as well as providing a social safety net that is sufficient to meet basic needs for anyone who cannot obtain or retain employment, and which provides meaningful avenues to build toward self-sufficiency through education, training and employment support.
- Intervention, Prevention, and Outreach
The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless recognizes the broad factors and diversity of homelessness, and the multiple resources needed to end it. We actively invite and encourage all with the ability to prevent or mitigate homelessness to do so by participation in systemic change initiatives and by making housing an integral part of client discharge planning.
Outreach is targeted to all agencies serving those at risk of homelessness, including homeless service and housing providers such as street outreach, emergency shelter and transitional and permanent supportive housing programs, as well as mainstream service providers such as the criminal justice system, chemical dependency and mental health treatment facilities, battered women services, public housing authorities, and county human services staff and policy makers.
The Coalition seeks to ensure that such mainstream programs and services will adequately serve those with the greatest needs, and to improve service delivery capacity, quality, and outcomes for all providers.
- Health Security
The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless supports access to affordable, quality, comprehensive health care.
The intersection of poor health and homelessness is irrefutable. Untreated disease and disability contribute to homelessness, are consequent to it, and present barriers to its ultimate end.
The consequences of restricted access to comprehensive health care are reflected in extremely high rates of both chronic and acute health problems among people experiencing homelessness.
- Professionalization of Services
The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless strives to understand the complex obstacles to housing, and promote and improve service delivery capacity, quality and outcomes in partnership with funders, legislators, service providers and homeless people.