Shae, we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!
We are so thankful to partner with HECUA each semester and have the opportunity to work with one of their students. This semester, Shae Kessler offered her time and talents to MCH through an internship tied to the legislative session.
Read below to hear more from Shae!
I originally came to the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless because I was intrigued by their proximity to the Capitol, both physically and politically. I thought it was amazing how they could directly influence what was happening at the Minnesota state legislature and impact such a wide variety of people. During my semester here, I found the process of organizing and policy change to be excruciatingly slow, but I was encouraged by the fact that I saw the results of what we were doing almost every day. Whether it was strategic planning to target key lawmakers or organizing with member organizations, I found that everything that MCH does has a purpose and a good one at that.
Most of the work I have done with the coalition was through the organizing team. We held meetings with member organizations to ensure that they are represented well in the coalition and that we are up-to-date on what their organization is doing. What was more interesting to me, however, was the idea of expanding MCH’s membership. In the first week of my internship, I was attending Continuum of Care meetings to ask them to endorse Homes for All. Throughout the course of the semester, I have been working on different tools that will help MCH reach out to more organizations and ask them to join. I firmly believe that there is power in numbers, and having the numbers on our side is a major key to victory. Also, having more member organizations means even more perspectives and ideas that could improve what MCH is already doing.
I also got a little experience in the worlds of policy and communications. My experience with policy mostly looked like sitting in on strategy meetings and watching as experts in different fields worked together to find the most effective way to get our shared agenda prioritized. This really opened my eyes to all of the ways that homelessness and housing security connect to other issues. My communications experience was what you could expect it to be: writing emails and looking through press mentions, but one piece I am particularly proud of is my own story. I wrote this in late February as we were preparing for Homeless Day on the Hill. It is my own testimony of how housing has impacted my own life and why it is important to me that every person is afforded that right.
The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless is a small office, but the people are very welcoming. I have enjoyed meeting so many people so passionate about this and other issues. This was my first time going to Senate hearings, meeting with legislators, and building a coalition, along with so many other new experiences. I plan on continuing my education in the world of organizing and policy, and I hope to start a career in policy research so that I can do the same kind of wonderful work that the people here do.
Thanks again, Shae!!