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On Wednesday, a diverse lineup of passionate testifiers urged the House Committee on Housing Finance and Policy to champion Homes for All MN’s 2019/20 legislative agenda. (Read more from Session Daily.) The agenda calls for $430 million in bold investments to prevent and end homelessness, preserve and develop affordable housing, promote housing stability, and support homeownership.  

United, testifiers underscored a key message: Where we live impacts everything.  

Photo: MHP's Libby Murphy, a Homes for All MN Policy Co-Chair, speaking at Wednesday's Press Conference

“If you care about education, you have to care about housing,” Senta Leff, Homes for All Co-Chair and Executive Director of Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, said. “If you care about workers, you have to care about housing. If you care about seniors, if you care about local economies, you have to care about housing first because it’s an essential ingredient for success in every other area.” 

Other testifiers included Ryan Vernosh, Maxfield Elementary School Principal; Jeff Washburne, Executive Director of the City of Lakes Community Land Trust; Buffy Baranek, Executive Director of the Southeast Minnesota Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority; Jordan May, Executive Director of the Red Lake Homeless Shelter; Jonathan Weinhagen, Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce President; and Monica Nilsson, homeless advocate and consultant. 

After the hearing, Homes for All coalition leaders and housing advocates convened for a press conference. The conference garnered statewide news coverage, including from publications based in Bemidji, Duluth, Willmar, and the Twin Cities. Thanks to Representatives Robert Bierman (DFL-Apple Valley), Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul), and Mike Howard (DFL-Bloomington/Richfield), and to Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) for attending the conference. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle recognize that housing intersects with many key issues – including Minnesota’s economic competitiveness.