MICAH sets 2015 Legislative Agenda
See new agenda here.
Every One Counts!
As people of faith, we believe that everyone counts, that each person is a unique and special creation of God and that everyone, without exception, needs a safe, decent, accessible, and affordable home.
This month, HUD conducted its annual count of people experiencing homelessness. Unfortunately, because of HUD’s very restrictive definition of homelessness and how the count was done, it will significantly undercount the number of people actually experiencing homelessness (See links below).
A special Thank You to our faith leaders that assisted in this count. It is our hope and prayer that:
People experiencing homelessness knew God’s and our faith leaders’ love, compassion and mercy for them.
Our faith leaders will renew their commitment to continue to be involved in direct service in meeting the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness and will continue advocating and working for justice, equity, and mercy in implementing structural and systemic changes in our country so that everyone, without exception, has a decent, safe, accessible and affordable place to call home.
What are MICAH’s priorities?
To advocate and work for justice, equity, and mercy in implementing structural and systemic changes, including the use of our tax resources, so that everyone, without exception, has a decent, safe, accessible and affordable place to call Home in our community.
From the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) What’s Hot on the Hill? Webinars on Federal Policy for Homeless Children and Youth.
GIVE THANKS and Give to the MAX for MICAHAs we thank God for the Blessings we received this year, let us double that blessing by sharing them to ensure everyone has a HOME in Our Community!
Your support is needed to continue
MICAH's work has been very effective in two arenas: 1) Advocacy along our transit corridors to create and maintain safe, decent, accessible and affordable homes and, 2) Through our legislative work at both the Federal and State Levels. We've had tremendous success with our housing partners in the legislature and impacting policy decisions this year including:
Passage of Housing Opportunities Made Equitable (HOME) Bill. $21.3 million allocated in the MHFA. 2014 and 2015 Plans for innovative financial training and home ownership opportunities for people of color, Native Americans and Hispanic ethnicity. $100 million bonding to build and rehab affordable housing. Increased Minimum Wage and public assistance benefits and passed the Expungement Bill. We also actively supporting funding for HR1213 and funding the National Housing Trust Fund http://nlihc.org/unitedforhomes
Please consider making a generous gift, for those of you who are struggling. Any gift will help, especially, the gift of prayer!
Donate by clicking micah.org/home/donate or givemn.org
Or mail a check to: MICAH 463 Maria Ave St. Paul, MN, 55106-4428.
Just try out giving God! Together, in God’s will and blessings, We are Bringing Our Community HOME!
Sue Watlov Phillips, Executive Director
Minnesota Cities, Neighborhoods, and Housing Groups Challenge State’s Failure to Ensure Fair Housing — Coalition Files Complaint with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
A coalition of Minneapolis’s three most diverse suburbs and an interfaith affordable housing organization filed a complaint today with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) charging that State agencies are violating the Fair Housing Act. The cities of Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, and Richfield, and the organization, the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH), contend that the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities have caused housing segregation and unequal opportunity across the Twin Cities region. Specifically, the complainants say, the agencies are intentionally concentrating affordable rental homes, in which minority families frequently live, in segregated, “low-opportunity” neighborhoods disconnected from quality schools, dependable transportation, or living-wage jobs. The State’s actions diminish quality housing options for everyone who lives in the Twin Cities area, the complaint explains. And they are unjustly withholding from the entire region the benefits of diverse, prosperous communities that offer opportunity for all.
The complaint is the first of two expected to be filed. MICAH is also serving as a complainant in the second filing, alongside three Minneapolis neighborhood groups: the Whittier Alliance, the Webber-Camden Neighborhood Organization, and Folwell Neighborhood Organization. The second complaint alleges many of the same Fair Housing Act violations, but identifies shortcomings within racially concentrated areas of poverty in the central cities and names Minneapolis and Saint Paul as respondents.
“Equal opportunity and diverse, thriving communities are crucial to our region’s prosperity in the 21st century, said Jeffrey Lunde, Mayor of Brooklyn Park. “When it comes to building a successful region, we’re all in it together. But the State’s actions have ignored that reality and violated the nation’s fair housing laws by segregating families of color overwhelmingly in the same few neighborhoods and disconnecting them from opportunity. Our complaint is designed to correct that, in ways that will benefit all the people of our region.”
Sue Watlov Phillips, Executive Director of MICAH, and Reverend Dr. Arthur Agnew, who sits on the organization’s board, said: “Our decision to bring this complaint is rooted in faith, as well as the values of our state and nation. Our 75 member congregations and supporting organizations represent a wide array of faith perspectives—Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. We believe God intends for all people to be decently housed and to have access to greater opportunity through access to excellent schools, dependable transportation, and living-wage jobs that allow them to support their families. We also believe that the color of your skin, where you were born, or the accent you have should have no bearing on where you can choose to live. Through the resolution of this complaint, we seek to make that vision—which is shared by the vast majority of Minnesotans—a reality in our region.”
The cities filing the complaint are among the most diverse in the region. “We’re proud of the vibrant diversity of our city,” said Tim Wilson, Mayor of Brooklyn Center, “But it is harder and harder to preserve that diversity, and the benefits that flow from it, when the State is perpetuating segregation instead of fair housing.” According to Curt Boganey, Brooklyn Center’s City Manager, the complaint will help the city to “continue producing a fair share of high-quality affordable housing for its residents.” But if state authorities do not obey federal civil rights laws, segregation runs the risk of overwhelming the city’s best efforts.
The complaints are being brought under the Fair Housing Act, a landmark civil rights law passed in 1968 in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale was a chief sponsor of the Act, and his call for “truly integrated and balanced living patterns” still resonates today. The law prohibits discrimination and segregation in housing, and requires that States and municipalities who choose to receive funding from the federal government take proactive steps to further fair housing.
“This is a moral and legal obligation, but also a matter of government accountability,” said Debbie Goettel, mayor of Richfield. The State receives millions of dollars in federal HUD funding for community and economic development, but continues to violate the responsibility to protect fair housing that comes with those funds.
The complainants are represented by Michael Allen, a partner in the civil rights law firm Relman, Dane & Colfax. Myron Orfield serves as local counsel.
Jamie Verbrugge, City of Brooklyn Park, 763-493-8002, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Devich, City of Richfield, 612-861-9702, email@example.com
Curt Boganey, City of Brooklyn Center, 763-569-3300, firstname.lastname@example.org
To read the complaint, click Complaint_Final_Filed_2014_11_10.pdfComments from the Press
Facing the facts on affordable housing in the Twin Cities
Where to put affordable housing? Met Council tackles plan this week
MICAH Summer 2014 Newsletter is in the mail!
To see it online, click here.
To see the list of Home Bill supporters, click Housing Opportunities Made Equitable supporters
To see the history of the HOME Bill, click HOME_BILL_HISTORY
We encourage everyone to review and comment on the Metro Council's draft Housing Policy Plan
2014 Legislative Successes
Look here to see the progress made at the 2014 legislature.
The Northeast chapter of MICAH is re-energizing. They just issued the following statement:
We are a group, representing diverse faith communities, living in both Ramsey and Washington counties, and meeting monthly, alternating between the city halls of Mahtomedi and White Bear Lake. We cultivate relationships with city, state and Met Council officials and administrators.
During 2014 we have urged the city of Mahtomedi to include affordable housing in the development of a former school site and supported the city's plan for a totally affordable apartment building for seniors on a former restaurant site. We continue to work with and support St. Andrew's Resource Center, Hope for the Journey Home, and Solid Ground as each helps homeless families toward permanent and affordable housing. We support and encourage the building of Habitat for Humanity homes in our communities; one is being built in White Bear Lake this year. We have representation on the Citizens Advisory Council for the Gateway Corridor and advocate for transit to make access to jobs available for the folks currently living in affordable neighborhoods as well as making future affordable housing possible. We continue to advocate at the state level through several agencies and organizations such as MICAH and JRLC.
MetroStats: Income, Education, and Immigration in the Twin Cities, 2008-2012
Regional Policy and Research recently published a new MetroStats providing an overview of the region’s 186 cities and townships during the 2008-2012 period, with particular attention to the variation across census tracts within communities. The report is based on American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
For full info, click here.