To the Editor:
I am a member of Bet Shalom Congregation of Minnetonka. We are a member of Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative; an organization of 100-plus congregations across the metro area to address affordable housing. I write because of my concern about the funding of housing, shelter and supportive services in Minnesota.
Beacon congregations three months ago assembled at the Capitol in order to advocate for affordable housing. We asked DFL and Republican legislators to support $100 million for emergency rental assistance and $200 million for housing bonds. We followed up with meetings with decision legislators, emails and phone calls. Unfortunately, in spite of our efforts, as of this date, nothing has happened to address our requests. The situation has become even more critical as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and affordable housing remains difficult to find.
Beacon maintains places of residence for over 800 individuals across the Twin Cities. In addition, supportive services helping individuals seek employment or dealing with mental health or family stresses are provided on site.
Therefore, the inability of the Legislature to fund affordable housing has placed this important and valuable service in jeopardy. It is imperative that the legislature pass a bonding bill and rental assistance in order to maintain and grow much needed affordable housing in Hennepin and Scott counties.
We understand that politics has interfered with the funding of these two important issues. We understand that a compromise could not be reached because of some issues that have been raised by Senate Republicans. We also understand that both Republicans and DFLers need to reach a compromise for this legislation to pass. We therefore ask our Sen. Paul Anderson to talk to his colleagues in the upcoming special session. We urge him to advocate for passage of the bonding bill and rental assistance. This is the right thing to do for those individuals who need affordable housing, for our community and for our state.