Special Edition: #MCHDOTH Highlights from MCH Fellows!

Last week was Homeless Day on the Hill, for some of our Fellows it was their first one, and we wanted to take the time to share their highlights and experiences. 

💻 MCH Fellowship Program
There are four individuals in the Advocacy Fellowship Program with MCH: Laquita Love-Limo, Jason Urbanczyk, Claudette McDowall, and Ranee Rock. The program was created after six years of deeply collaborating and learning from Regional Expert Network members whose insight was instrumental in the creation of the Advocacy Fellowship. The goal of the Advocacy Fellowship is to provide career pathways for leaders with lived experience by providing them with hands-on training, experience, and valuable connections while also enhancing MCH’s advocacy. Read more about the Advocacy Fellowship Program here.

Photo from left to right: Matt Traynor, Laquita Love-Limo , Ranee Rock, Autumn Dillie, Jason Urbanczyk, and Claudette McDowall.

Check out each of the MHC Fellows’ reflections from #MCHDOTH:

⭐Ranee Rock, Policy Fellow
“While this is not my first year with MCH, this is my first year with DOTH, both in attending and planning and it was awesome for a first-time experience in both roles. I enjoyed everything about it, even the multiple times we had to pivot. I loved it the most when the Governor was there sitting with me whispering very random things to me and that in itself was exciting and very enjoyable. I went to Senator Pappas’ meeting and due to the several young adults there clearly having something to say, I did not take their shine from them by asking any questions; I enjoyed listening to the things our youth is speaking about. To just know that I can schedule an appointment and then meet with my lawmakers is pretty cool and I have told all of my friends already. Additionally, I encourage my SHIP team to get out and do the same by sharing my few experiences with them about how down-to-earth the representatives and Senators are, which honestly I was not expecting. I think for the most part that lawmakers understand the importance of their roles and continue to learn the need to not only meet with their constituents but to engage with them as well. Overall, I need to say that my first experience with DOTH went well and I look forward to next year.” Read more about Ranee here

⭐Claudette McDowall, Administrative Fellow
“While this was not my first DOTH experience, I enjoyed interacting with people and talking about advocating together to end homelessness. I met with Rep Mike Freiberg (43B). The meeting went well, he was very attentive and listened to our conversations/concerns. In the future, I would invite family and friends to DOTH because it was a great event where organizations, groups, and individuals met and advocated with lawmakers for better housing and policies for Minnesotans. I hope lawmakers will put in laws that will be beneficial to all Minnesotans. Overall, I enjoyed attending DOTH this year. It was an opportunity to meet with our legislators and discuss legislative priorities that would benefit all Minnesotans.” Read more about Claudette here

⭐Laquita Love-Limo, Policy Fellow
“The spirit of unity and determination filled the air as Day on the Hill (DOTH) 2024 brought together advocates from every corner of Minnesota to combat homelessness. This year’s event was marked by a significant reunion as the Duluth, Twin Cities (SHIP), and Winona RKT joined forces once again.

The atmosphere at DOTH was nothing short of electric, with individuals from across the state converging to make their voices heard in the fight against homelessness. Amidst impassioned discussions and strategic planning, the collective resolve to address this pressing issue was palpable.

A special acknowledgment goes to the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless (MCH) staff, fellows, and volunteers whose dedication ensured the seamless execution of the event. Their tireless efforts behind the scenes played a pivotal role in making DOTH 2024 a resounding success.

As the echoes of Day on the Hill reverberate throughout the state, it serves as a testament to the power of community collaboration and the unwavering commitment to creating a future where every individual has a place to call home.” Read more about Laquita here

⭐Jason Urbanczyk, Community Engagement Fellow
“This was my first day on the hill in person. I attended a virtual event during the pandemic, and I have to say, it was nothing like that first experience.  The advocates were amazing and I had an awesome day. I was fortunate enough to be one of the emcees for the ceremony, alongside Ranee Rock, another one of the MCH Advocacy Fellows. I am from Moorhead, MN and I met with my lawmaker, Heather Keeler, along with a reporter and cameraman from MPR doing an article here on us Fellows. I was blown away with well over 25 people in the room. The energy was electric around homelessness and housing, I hope our lawmakers felt the same energy that I just spoke of and are listening to their constituents, many of whom traveled many miles to be there to show their support and speak their minds. I would encourage anyone to come to a Homeless Day on the Hill and feel the passion of the community that works tirelessly in their efforts to combat homelessness in our state. My day on the hill was amazing, I know this experience will live with me forever.” Read more about Jason here

📝 Other #MCHDOTH Highlights

Here are a few other highlights from the wonderful day:

  • Over 900 of us gathered throughout the day for a full day of advocacy.
  • We had 28 wonderful sponsors that made the event free for advocates to attend. Check them all out on our website
  • The Governor and Lt. Governor came to the Homeless Day on the Hill opening program to share their support for ending homelessness. We also had champion lawmakers Representative Keeler, Representative Curran, and Representative Howard join us for the program, and they are committed to finding solutions to homelessness and investing in services.
  • MCH Fellows, Jason and Ranee, were the emcees of the program, with Claudette and Laquita also speaking. Find the full recorded version of the program on our YouTube channel here.
  • Just over 125 lawmakers were confirmed to meet with their constituents from across the state. 
  • We were in the news multiple times and we will send more articles soon, but check out this StarTribune article here called “Homelessness in Minnesota declined slightly in the past five years, according to a new statewide study released Wednesday“. This article features the Minnesota Homeless Study from Wilder Research (one of the #MCHDOTH sponsors!) and a quote from Ranee Rock.
  • Check out the hashtag #MCHDOTH on social media platforms and you can see all the advocates and their organization’s posts!

Until next year – thanks for a great Homeless Day on the Hill!

PS: If you missed it – find the full recorded version of the program on our YouTube channel here.