It goes without saying that Minnesota winters can be long and frustrating to navigate. It became truer this week. Many legislative hearings and lawmaker meetings were canceled due to the weather, also popularly known as the polar vortex. While many of us were in homes with warmth and security, thousands of our neighbors and friends continued to face not having one of the fundamental needs: a home.
The hard truth remains that people are literally dying outside because they don’t have access to quality and safe places to call home.
We can dive deeper into the complicated and layered reasons as to why this is happening, but first, we need to make sure safe, dignified housing options across the continuum are available. Many shelters extended their hours to help fill the need and even with that action, many were left without a warm place to lay their heads. Train stations, outreach workers, service workers, direct service providers, and volunteers all banded together to provide temporary solutions. Neighbors organized themselves to pay for hotel rooms for strangers experiencing homelessness — these strangers are relatives to so many other people; someone’s brother, mother, aunt or cousin..they are someone.
Thank you for seeing and helping my brother-in-law; he is homeless and we have not seen or heard from for over three years. He may have been amongst the many served over the last few days.
This legislative session, MCH, and its partners are hoping to secure increased investments for shelters statewide. Currently, 63 of 87 Minnesota counties DO NOT have fixed site shelters. Which means people experiencing homelessness in those counties are left in the cold, heat, rain, etc. While the four walls of shelters are important, so are the programs and services needed to provide outreach and support.
You will be seeing action alerts to help us successfully secure this investment during session, and I ask that you respond; make calls, write letters, show up to rallies and help expand our shelter programs so that more of our neighbors, friends, and maybe my brother in law, can find comfort and security.
We simply cannot do our work without you. Thank you.