Updated August 22, 2016
This year, every seat in the Minnesota Legislature is up for election. As lawmakers and candidates hit the campaign trail, it’s important that they hear from you about housing and homelessness. What you share with candidates influences their priorities and decision making. It’s just as important as advocacy during the legislative session!
Here are three questions you can ask candidates for state office if you see them in the community, at your front door, or if you get a phone call:
  • Would you support state investments to prevent homelessness and develop affordable housing?

Low vacancy rates across the state have pushed rent prices up. Since 2000, rent prices have risen by 6%, but incomes have fallen by 16% adjusted for inflation, according to the Minnesota Housing Partnership. (Learn more: The State of Affordable Housing, MPR News, July 5, 2016)

  • Would you support raising cash assistance for families enrolled in Minnesota’s welfare-to-work program for the first time since 1986?

Minnesota’s welfare-to-work program hasn’t increase since 1986. Maximum cash assistance for a family of three is $532 per month. About half of families don’t have access to subsidized housing. The erosion of cash assistance explains why family homelessness has quadrupled since the 1990s. (Learn More: Prosperity for All Campaign)

  • How do you see housing stability affecting racial equity in Minnesota?

Over 60% of Minnesotans experiencing homelessness are people of color and American Indian. Housing stability is the foundation for better health, education, and employment outcomes. (Learn More: Homelessness in Minnesota, Wilder Research 2015)

The 2016 Legislative Session was a disappointment for Minnesotans experiencing homelessness and low-income families. The session ended without a tax bill (that expanded the Working Family Credit) or bonding bill (that invested in affordable housing). Governor Dayton and legislative leaders could not negotiate a deal to hold a special session this summer. This is a major disappointment for communities affected by homelessness and housing issues.

It’s important that legislative candidates hear from you before they are elected. If you speak to candidates in your district about housing and homelessness, please let us know. What questions should we add to the list? Please send your thoughts and updates to Atom Robinson: atom@mnhomelesscoalition.org.