Over the years at MHP, we've learned that if we can do good work alone, we can do much better work together in collaboration with our networks and partners. This is nowhere more apparent than in our shared Homes for All state advocacy work to make sure that Minnesota state agencies have the resources they need to prevent and end homelessness, to create safe and affordable housing, and to preserve the precious affordable housing we do have.
commentary submitted by the superintendents of five large Minnesota school districts in support of the Homes for All agenda. The superintendents ask,This week, we saw how powerful collaborations can be, even among groups that don't always work together. Monday's Star Tribune featured a
"How can we close the achievement gap when thousands of students don’t know where they’re going to sleep at night?"
They see the toll that homelessness takes when a sixth grader asks his teacher about job opportunities, thinking he might be able to help his family keep his home. Or when a high school student sleeps in a portable toilet.
The superintendents also know that homelessness has been rising in many school districts. MHP's 2x4 Report shows that the number of homeless students in several large districts has risen by 30% from 2008 till now.
This year, 80 organizations have joined Homes for All, building on last year's success in the coalition's inaugural year in advocating for bonding for housing.
Representative Alice Hausman, chair of the House bonding committee, said last year, "Housing advocates have been here every single day, talking to everyone. They have had enormous impact on the bonding bill."
With less than three weeks before the end of Minnesota's legislative session, we wanted to recognize the remarkable collaboration happening within and across sectors, and to thank everyone who has contributed so far. We also wanted to take the opportunity to invite you to join the superintendents and many other voices in the public conversation around housing and homelessness.
Whether through signing on as an organizational member, speaking to your legislators about your experience with housing and homelessness, or writing a letter to your local paper, adding your voice to a growing coalition makes a difference.
To learn more about Homes for All, the legislative agenda, and what to tell your legislators, visit the Homes for All page or contact Julie Johnson or Erica Schmiel at MHP, or one of the other coalition partners such as MCCD, Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, or Hearth Connection (among many others).