Beacon Housing Work Group – November Update

Written by Judith Foley 

The Beacon Housing Working Group here at HOH works in partnership with Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative and its nearly 100 member Congregations around the metro to create new affordable housing and to increase Minnesota’s investment in housing for people with the greatest need. 

The House of Hope worked with Beacon to build Prior Crossing, a supportive housing development with 44 apartments to house and support youth transitioning out of homelessness, which opened in 2015. Working on this and other housing initiatives has motivated us to continue and deepen this partnership to fulfill one of God’s missions for the House of Hope—to insure that everyone in our community has a home.

Currently, we are focused on advocating with lawmakers in support of prioritizing and passing Beacon’s central policy program, Bring It Home, MN, which would provide rental assistance to all low-income Minnesotans who qualify and currently pay over 30% of their income toward rent. 

Lack of stable housing is shown to affect the quality of education for families with children, the ability to obtain and retain stable employment thereby enabling low income individuals and families to maintain housing, and consistency in health care and treatment.   

Before the pandemic, data showed that over 550,000 households in Minnesota paid an excess of 50% of their income for housing. For decades, while salaries have remained stagnant, rent has continued to rise–making so many of our neighbors just one emergency away from being homeless. With a national emergency affecting us all, Bring it Home, MN would stabilize hundreds of thousands of families—preventing even more from winding up in parks and on streets. We must continue to ask that our lawmakers prioritize funding for accessible homes: currently we invest only .5% of state monies in housing. Just 3% to 4% would enable us to provide much if not all the housing needed.  

Along with state-level advocacy, the Beacon Housing Working Group supports Beacon in increasing production of its own supportive housing buildings. Along with other projects, they are expanding Kimball Court on Snelling to create more units. Next year, Beacon will begin the process of determining their next new supportive housing development in St. Paul; The House of Hope will be an important part of this process. 

We invite you to join us in our advocacy: all are invited to our monthly meeting, at 4 p.m. on the first Monday of each month. We encourage everyone to join us at Beacon’s monthly Rent is Due Days of Action, on the 1st of the month at 8:30 a.m. And we hope to turn out as many House of Hope members as possible to the Dwelling in Hope on Sunday November 15. You can register to attend (in-person or virtually); please also let me know if you plan to attend, you can email at jleefol.jf@gmail.com.

If you’re interested in attending a meeting, joining the group or learning more about our work, please contact the Chair of the Beacon Working Group, Shana Wagner at sharon.k.wagner@gmail.com.