Take Five is MHP’s series that asks the same five questions of a variety of people intersecting with MHP, from staff to housing advocates! Leah Hall joins MHP as the new Director of Community Development.
Q1. What is your name and title?
Leah Hall, Director of Community Development
Q2. What attracted you to working with MHP?
It was definitely the MHP mission and values! I was born/raised in a small rural community in northern Minnesota, and I have had the privilege of serving rural communities for 20+ years; I am very passionate about lifting up the incredible strengths that rural community members have and finding ways to best support them as they create home-grown solutions to local community development challenges. Prior to coming to MHP, I had the opportunity to work with MHP staff in communities across Minnesota as they moved MHP’s mission forward through on-the-ground community planning and development work, as well as policy/advocacy work that incorporates the voices of rural communities and housing practitioners.
In summary, I think MHP’s mission/vision and values reflect how I believe communities, especially rural communities, deserve to be served.
Q3. What’s a challenge in the field of housing right now?
There are a lot of challenges out there right now in the housing field, but one key challenge that I would highlight is access to housing resources. Many communities across the state and nation face significant challenges navigating the complexities that go along with accessing state and federal housing funding opportunities (as well as some large foundation funds) and other services needed to create housing solutions. In addition, some communities just cannot qualify for funds/services they need because they do not meet certain selection criteria. I think this is especially true in rural communities and Native Nations that have been historically underserved and excluded from opportunities that have a direct impact on their ability to develop housing solutions that fit the unique needs of community members. I do want to add that I think MHP plays a key role in assisting communities most impacted by housing disparities find ways to both access the resources they need, as well as advocating for change at the state and federal level.
Q4. Is there a book by your bed, and what is it?
So, I have to admit, I am usually either reading the news on my phone before I go to bed or, I have been known to read housing funding/compliance rules and regulations published by the state or federal government (it is much, much more effective than counting sheep!).
Q5. Who is your superhero?
MHP is grateful to the AmeriCorps VISTA program and Sponsoring Organization HOME Line.
Look out for more Take 5 profiles coming soon!