Ending Homelessness for Families in Minnesota
On March 12, 2015, more than 650 advocates convened at the Minnesota State Capitol for Homeless Day on the Hill. Why can’t we do the same in NJ?
The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless (MCH) coordinated this event. MCH is co-leading the Prosperity for All campaign, a coalition of 70 Minnesota organizations working to augment the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP). Prosperity for All is promoting bills to increase cash assistance for families with children by $100 per month, which would be the first MFIP increase since 1986.
Homeless Day on the Hill and the Prosperity for All campaign provide promising models for advocacy to create Homes for the Homeless and end homelessness in New Jersey.
As part of the campaign, Prosperity for All organizers collected hundreds of stories from parents about how an additional $100 per month from MFIP would help.
“We know how many homeless people in Minnesota rely on MFIP to get to job interviews, find child care when working, or to help with monthly housing costs.”
“Beyond our neighbors who are currently homeless, there are thousands of Minnesota renters who are severely housing cost burdened and need MFIP to maintain their homes.”
Said Liz Kuoppala, Executive Director of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless.
The Prosperity for All proposal is based on a recommendation of the Minnesota TANF Expenditure Task Force, convened by the legislature to determine whether current TANF allocations meet the purposes of that federal program.
The primary recommendation of the Task Force was to increase the monthly MFIP payment. The Task Force learned that neighboring states of similar circumstances were providing significantly higher cash assistance monthly payments. For example, Wisconsin provides $653 monthly while South Dakota allocates $602 monthly.
At Homeless Day on the Hill, advocates also urged passage of a bill to provide an additional $39 million to prevent homelessness and expand housing options. The $39 million proposal builds on the $100 million budget increase that the Homes for All campaign, co-chaired by MCH, won last year. During Homeless Day on the Hill, a packed hearing room watched as the Health and Human Services Finance Committee advanced the $39 million appropriation to the House floor.
Click here to read more from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.