Homes & Hearts Working Group

Mission and Goals

We act on our profound love for all people through advocacy and direct service to the needs of people experiencing homelessness in the Twin Cities community.  

Goals:

  • We will inquire within ourselves to understand our own inner landscapes regarding the issue of homelessness, and how this may affect our capacity to do the external work for the betterment of those impacted by homelessness. 
  • We will educate ourselves and each other about the current issues and realities of homelessness, as well as opportunities to take action in various ways. 
  • We will take action, including advocating for policy changes, methods of direct services to meet daily needs, and holding space for difficult conversations. 
  • We will support local and national organizations who are already doing this work by amplifying their voices, paying attention to unmet needs, and filling in existing gaps. 

We will do this through supporting legislation to increase funding for emergency shelters, affordable housing, and mental health programs. View our infographic for more information on the rising urgency of homelessness.

 

 

 


Why this matters: 

In 2018, the Wilder Foundation estimated 19,600 people in Minnesota experienced homelessness on any given night, with 50,600 Minnesotans experiencing homelessness over the course of a year.  These estimates attempt to include people who are couch surfing, living in cars, garages, and other places not suited for human habitation. 

  • While the trajectory of each person’s own journey is unique, the experience of unstable housing is ultimately not about the life choices of an individual, but rather the obvious failings of complicated, racist systems designed to further exploit and marginalize certain groups of people, specifically communities of color, with Black and Indigenous people disproportionately experiencing the highest rates of homelessness in the country. 
  • The failings of these systems were further revealed and deepened by the reality of COVID-19. This is currently causing these numbers to rise significantly due to an increase in loss of employment and livable income, inability to make rent, shelter constraints, and the closing of public spaces. 
  • The extreme lack of affordable housing is a primary barrier for people who are homeless. Another is the lack of supports in place for people experiencing adversities in childhood, mental health issues, and chemical dependency. 

Call to ACTION:  Please add your voice into the ongoing movement for justice and change by responding to the action alerts and other opportunities for advocacy shared with the CSJ community.  By unifying our voices together, we become stronger forces for social transformation! 


Homes & Hearts Working Group member reflection: 

Taking action for lasting social change:  a reflection on the Reality of Homelessness during a Pandemic
by Karina Sieber, SJW 2020-2021  

A belief of mine that I am intentional about returning back to is that every living being has an inherent dignity about them, by virtue of existing. We are all profoundly interconnected with each other, and our wellness depends on each other. We need each other in order to be well. 

This is what largely motivates me to extend my gratitude to the trees I pass on my walk home. To cultivate an honest and compassionate relationship with myself. To respond to those around me who are experiencing distress, disconnection, and injustice with empathy, and to use this as fuel to take action for lasting social change. During this pandemic and time of steepening inequality, the housing crisis has been elevated and many are without stable shelter, income, sustenance, healthcare, or support.  

As a community led by our belief of love for the dear neighbor without distinction, we are being called to respond to the needs of our nearby community members. We must align ourselves with the movement to demand that the needs of every person are met, regardless of who they are, where they are, or what they have done. 

How can each of us take action for lasting change?  Taking action such as delivering food, supplies, and other necessities to those who are being forced to go without?  Taking action such as writing letters, sign petitions, and advocating with our elected representatives to enact policy changes for the benefit of everyone, especially those who have historically been excluded?  Taking action such as supporting organizations who are already doing this work with our time, our energy, and our personal resources?  Taking action such as getting involved through a new CSJ Homes & Hearts Working Group focused on homelessness issues.  Please email me if you are interested in becoming a member of the Homes & Hearts Working Group at justiceoffice@csjstpaul.org.