Micro-grants available for fair housing community engagement in the suburbs

In May, a group of government officials and community leaders started a year-long process to more deeply investigate the barriers to fair housing faced by communities of color — and rewrite a key document that informs how federal dollars flow into the Twin Cities region. After months of meetings discussing that process, it’s time for the public to weigh in.

To get that input, the Fair Housing Implementation Council (FHIC) is awarding micro-grants to community-based organizations that work in the suburban areas of the seven-county metro area — specifically the counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Suburban Hennepin, Suburban Ramsey, Scott, and Washington — to convene their communities to discuss barriers to housing opportunity and fair housing within their respective cultural backgrounds.

More specifically, the FHIC is seeking input to create an addendum to the region’s Analysis to Impediments to Fair Housing, a document required for area cities to get funding from the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development. In particular, this addendum specifically focuses on race and national origin — and the impact of segregation, housing discrimination, displacement, gentrification, and barriers to housing choice on communities of color.

To understand those experiences, the FHIC is seeking organizations or individuals with existing relationships within their community to conduct a culturally appropriate community engagement process to reach 15 or more people about housing opportunity, barriers to fair housing, and solutions to these barriers. The applicant will not only collect this data, but write up a summary of what it heard, and relay the information back to the FHIC. Approximately three grants will be made available — to suburban-focused organizations — for up to $4,500 ($4,000 plus reimbursement for meeting costs up to $500) and interpretation/translation if applicable.

In partnership with the FHIC, MHP will administer the grant application process. For questions, please contact Chip Halbach at chalbach@mhponline.org.

Applicants with connections to the following will receive highest priority:

  1. Communities of color
  2. Limited English Proficiency individuals
  3. Immigrants (any immigration status including refugees or undocumented persons (those with no immigration status)
  4. Low-income
  5. Displaced (from rentals and homeownership)
  6. Housing Choice Voucher holders (including those that received a voucher but unable to place it)
  7. Under-represented faith communities
  8. Communities that are underrepresented in government processes

Applications are due December 7 with awards announced on December 14. For details on the application process, click here.