Last week, Tubman joined more than 800 people from around Minnesota at Central Presbyterian Church in Saint Paul and welcomed Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan to Homeless Day on the Hill. Hosted by the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, Homeless Day on the Hill brings together people who are united in the belief that everyone should have a safe place to live. Participants in the event included people who have or are currently experiencing homelessness, faith communities, and organizations that work with homeless populations in a day of advocacy. This year, participants met with their local and state representatives to advocate for the increase in amounts of both the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), and the Emergency Services Program (ESP).
Advocating on behalf of a bill to increase the MFIP amount by $200 a month was one of the agenda items at Homeless Day on the Hill. The Minnesota Family Investment Program provides employment support and temporary cash assistance to children and their parents who are striving toward full-time employment. The amount of money given to families has not been increased since 1986. More than 55,000 children in Minnesota live in extreme poverty and access MFIP while parents work to meet work and training requirements.
Increase in funding to the Emergency Services Program was also an agenda item of the day. ESP provides the entire state with funding for emergency shelters. According to the 2017 HUD Point in Time Count, Minnesota’s unsheltered population has increased by 41 percent in four years. Approximately 6,000 youth up to age 24 experience homelessness on any given night. Emergency shelters are a starting point to gaining long term stability. Currently, 63 out of 87 Minnesota counties do not have a fixed shelter site. This increase to ESP funding on a biennial basis will provide Minnesota shelters with more infrastructure to provide the vital services needed for people experiencing homelessness.
As Tubman works with all forms of violence, we recognize that homelessness is its own form of trauma, which can be exacerbated by other trauma such as domestic violence, the leading cause of homelessness for women and children. Mental health and chemical health issues also contribute to homelessness. Tubman is one of 200 members of Homes for All, a state-wide coalition working to ensure every Minnesotan has safe, stable, and affordable housing.