Record Level of Homelessness in MN
In a recent sermon I shared that there are now 350 students in the Roseville Area School District who are homeless or unstably housed. This is up from 175 at the same time last year. That number is astonishing! The district has several very passionate people working with these families but the problem is growing. Roseville does not have a homeless shelter and there is not enough low income housing. Recently Keystone Community Food Shelf lost its location in Roseville, so there is no longer a food shelf in the community.
Anne Haugan and I participate in a group that meets monthly called CAN (Community Action Network) with others from the community to address issues of homelessness. The group was initially called Homework Starts with Home, named for a grant from the state of Minnesota to provide stable housing for students and their families in four suburban Ramsey County School Districts including Roseville. About 15 families have found permanent housing so far through this grant.
According to the Wilder Foundation, homelessness in Minnesota is at an all-time record high. Over 10,000 Minnesotans are homeless (Star Tribune: “Minneapolis nonprofit lands $5 million from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to help homeless families” Nov. 22).
What can we as a congregation do to make an impact?
Churches Can Make an Impact
Edina Community Lutheran Church saw a growing number of homeless youth in their community and decided to do something to make a difference. The congregation partnered with Beacon Interfaith Housing Cooperative to build a 39-unit building with studio apartments for previously homeless youth. Pastor Ruth and I recently met Deacon Lauren Morse-Wendt from Edina Community Lutheran who coordinated the project. She shared that the congregation contributed $80,000 and then got a grant from the state for $10 to build the project.
What Might We Do?
• Advocate for funding. Governor Tim Walz recently announced new funding to build affordable housing. Rep. Ilhan Omar introduced a bill to spend $1 trillion for affordable housing over the next ten years with the goal of creating 12 million new housing units.
• Use our resources: Prince of Peace has people, passion, potential partnerships, land and monetary resources. How might we use these resources to make a difference?