Lutheran Advocacy-MN is called to work on issues of hunger, poverty and care of creation. We proactively support legislation at the state Legislature, while defending existing programs. We continue to partner with ELCA Advocacy to aggressively protect important programs and vulnerable people.
State Issues (proactive and defensive work)
Affordable Housing, Homelessness & Related Services
Despite wins at the state Legislature, significant shortages of affordable housing still exist across the state. Rapid loss of Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH), high (and rising) rental rates, and wages that have stagnated or declined mean housing continues to be the most severe hunger/poverty issue facing Minnesotans.Lutheran Advocacy-MN continues to be deeply involved in the statewide Homes for All Coalition, with LA-MN staff serving on both the Policy Team and Communications Teams, and local Lutheran citizen advocates promoting the collaborative agenda with lawmakers.
Homes for All believes that housing is a valuable investment for all Minnesota residents. In greater Minnesota and urban areas, economic development and community vitality rely on adequate homes that are affordable to ALL of Minnesota’s hardworking families. However, there isn’t one kind of housing that fits the needs of every Minnesotan. From a homeless veteran to a first-time homebuyer, we must address the full continuum of housing needs. These investments help communities throughout the meet housing needs and build financial assets. For the 2019-20 biennium, Homes for All is advocating for state investments that leverage local, federal and private resources to:
- Prevent homelessness, provide emergency shelter and improve stability for homeless and highly mobile students
- Build and preserve affordable rental homes for working families, and provide rental assistance to kids and families
- Prepare first-time homebuyers and provide down-payment assistance to families with low to moderate income
Clean Energy, Clean Air, Climate, and Jobs
Due to pollution caused by fossil fuels, severe consequences of climate change are happening more rapidly than scientists previously believed. A October 2018 report by UN climate experts warns that carbon pollution must be cut by 45% within the next 12 years, and must be at zero within approximately 25 years, to avoid catastrophic outcomes. Significant climate changes have already occurred, disrupting agriculture, and causing or increasing hunger, poverty, drought, famines, and flooding. Warming has increased storm intensity, changed insect habitat and increased the rates of both Lyme disease and West Nile Virus in Minnesota. While working to cut carbon pollution, attention must also be focused on adaptation and resilience in communities locally and around the world.
Minnesota, along with many countries and states, has started transitioning to a clean energy economy, but that process needs to be greatly accelerated. Changes will be difficult for some industries and workers, so transition plans are necessary. Changes are also creating new economic opportunities, businesses and jobs. Minnesota has nearly achieved the 2007 Renewable Energy Standard of 25 percent renewable energy by 2025 for most utilities and 30 percent for Minnesota’s largest utility, Xcel Energy. Solar, wind and energy efficiency jobs are increasing rapidly, as reflected by more than 130 Minnesota companies that participate in various aspects of the clean energy supply chain. Renewable energy prices have fallen rapidly and continue to drop. Xcel Energy now plans to provide 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050 (80% carbon-free by 2030). LA-MN is focused on education and legislation related to a) renewables, b) efficiency, and c) adaptation and mitigation to protect those most impacted and most vulnerable.
Federal Issues (defense of programs and protection of vulnerable people)
- Immigration: LA-MN is actively weighing in as needed on family separation, federal efforts to severely restrict authorized immigration and denial of due process for asylum requests.
- Anti-Poverty Programs: LA-MN seeks to fight significant cuts and administrative efforts to limit participation in housing programs, SNAP, Medicaid, and child nutrition programs.
- Creation Care: As time allows, LA-MN works against cuts to the EPA and policy changes loosening existing clean air, water and energy regulations and laws.