Take 5 with MHP’s Austin Fleming

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! Austin Fleming joins MHP as an AmeriCorps VISTA member, working specifically on our narrative change project.

Austin Fleming

Q1. What is your name and title?

Austin Fleming, Narrative Change and VISTA Tenant Organizer

Q2. What attracted you to working with MHP?

I really appreciated that MHP is working to create lasting systemic change by amending the state constitution. I like to think of a constitution as a codification of values, and the amendment will go a long way in shifting how Minnesotans think about housing.

Q3. What’s a challenge in the field of housing right now?

I think the biggest challenge to the field of housing is market logic. Housing is a fundamental human need, and the pursuit of profit inevitably creates disparities in accessibility and affordability. The legal framework of private property also obfuscates and facilitates housing discrimination.

Q4. Is there a book by your bed, and what is it?

Though not by my bed at the moment, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 is a staple. The book is absurd and hilarious, then on a dime shifts to hauntingly sad then beautifully optimistic. It really captures the whiplash of life in the modern world. This reminds me that I’m due for a re-read.

Q5. Who is your superhero? 

The closest thing I have to a superhero is my master’s advisor Kristen McCauliff. In addition to being a trusted mentor and brilliant scholar, she is a community advocate and dedicated mother. I would not be in this position without her support, and she continues to inspire me to better myself and my community.

MHP is grateful to the AmeriCorps VISTA program and Sponsoring Organization HOME Line.

Look out for more Take 5 profiles coming soon!