Take 5 with MHP Interns Alex Griffin & Shuping Wang

Welcome to the new MHP series Take Five, in which we ask the same five questions of a variety of people intersecting with MHP, from staff to housing advocacy luminaries! First up are our two summer interns, Alex Griffin and Shuping Wang.

Winning the alphabetical lottery is Alex Griffin, currently getting a Master of Public Policy from the University of Minnesota (expected graduation Spring 2023). Their most recent work experience was as a Waiver Case Manager in Ramsey County, where she supported a caseload of ~30 elderly waiver recipients, and as a Trans Provider Passages Consultant with RECLAIM. She is currently a board member of the Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization (CANDO). This summer, Alex will be supporting the development of a new area of research MHP is about to embark on: examining property conditions of homes and the implications of those property quality for households statewide. At MHP, Alex is also supporting the development of a statewide public education campaign on housing in rural areas of the state.

Shuping Wang‘s educational background includes getting a Master of Public Policy (graduating May 2023) from the University of Minnesota, a stint at Utrecht University in the Netherlands the summer of 2018, and a Bachelor of History with a Minor of Economics at Xiamen University in Fujian China. This past February, she participated in the RENTERS project to find the gap between renters’ experiences and current rental policy in Minneapolis, leading interviews with advocacy organizations, city official and renters.

Shuping will be conducting an analysis of the various Emergency Rental Assistance programs and the dissemination of ERA in Minnesota over the past year. She will be conducting interviews with legal service providers, local jurisdictions, program operators and field partners to better understand the successes and barriers of the rental assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Take 5 with Alex Griffin

Q: What is your name? Alex Griffin

Q. What attracted you to working with MHP?

Alex: My background is in social work, and access to safe, secure, and affordable housing was always the biggest barrier to stability that the clients I worked with faced. MHP immediately attracted me as an opportunity to be a part of the solution to some of these larger issues.

Q. What’s a challenge in the field of housing right now?

Alex: Funding! Congress capped the number of public housing units at current levels back in the 90’s, but since then many units have been demolished without funding to replace them. According to HUD, the U.S. could add as many as 220,000 new units if only there were financing for Public Housing Authorities to construct them. 

Q. Is there a book (or other media) by your bed, and what is it?

Alex: I’m reading the second book in the Three Body Problem trilogy by Liu Cixin. Without giving too much away, it’s a science fiction series that contemplates astrophysics and the philosophical questions related to academic skepticism. Highly recommend it!

Q. Who is your superhero?

Alex: Emma Goldman

Take 5 with Shuping Wang

We asked Shuping the same five questions, and she gave us a narrative response:

Shuping: My name is Shuping Wang. I am major in Public Policy at Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. Through my last research project in Humphrey School, I interviewed several renters in Minneapolis and I realized they are a vulnerable group of people. The housing inequality has been exacerbated by the pandemic in US. We are hoping through this research project we can investigate various rental assistance programs provided by the governments.

I am an international student from China. This is my second year in America and I like my life in Minnesota. I have made several friends and they are really nice people. I am impressed by the natural landscapes here. Recently I have been reading A River Runs Through It, recommended by a friend of mine. With the book I am trying to picture the people who have lived on this land and their old lifestyle. It would be a fun journey!

Look out for more Take 5 profiles coming soon!