Hello Friends –
Unfortunately, legislators have little to show for both their regular session and the first legislative session, except for a couple of COVID-19 Emergency Bills!
Now they are coming back for another Special Session on Monday. Right now, leaders from both chambers and both parties are negotiating, trying to come up with agreements so that a bonding bill can still pass. Last Special Session was several individual legislators gumming up the process for various individual bills or issues, to force the rest of the legislature to do their individual bidding (whether in the area they blocked or somewhere else). Leaders do not want that to happen again, although the potential is still possible! Our intel suggests that senate leadership is refusing to take up anything other than bonding.
You’ll notice that the Action Alert looks familiar! That’s because housing is still probably the main (only?) item that will be able to get bipartisan support in both chambers and pass. Given both COVID-19 and the economic recession, housing assistance, an eviction moratorium/grace period, and more affordable housing/rehabbed housing that’s affordable remain extremely important!!!
Even if you’ve contacted your legislators and/or legislative leaders before on these very issues, we need you to do it again!!
WHAT IS NEEDED?
1) At least $100 million in housing assistance (available from federal funding) designated to address COVID related concerns and job losses
2) Changing the rental eviction moratorium to align with federal policy, and a grace period for rental payment (especially important if the rental assistance isn’t designated)
3) $225 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds, with $25 million of it designated just one time for shelter use (especially important with distancing needed during the pandemic, but was needed ever before COVID)
4) $100 million in Government Obligation Bonds to address Public Housing (including rehab or rehabilitation of apartment units)
HOW TO TAKE ACTION
Email your legislators AND their leadership. You might need to cut and paste into a web form if they don’t allow constituent emails directly to their email (because they get spammed so much). You only need a few sentences. Don’t worry about trying to say everything. Most important is that you personalizer it!!)
Your Senator (and Representative): Find out who they are & their emails by clicking here
Sen. Paul Gazelka (MN Senate Majority Leader)
Sen. Susan Kent (MN Senate Minority Leader)
Rep. Melissa Hortman (MN Speaker of the House): rep.melissa.hortman@
Rep. Ryan Winkler (MN House Majority Leader): rep.ryan.winkler@
Rep. Kurt Daudt (MN House Minority Leader): rep.kurt.daudt@house.
TALKING POINTS (Choose a point or two from each section below or create your own. NOTE: Faith language is especially important with some of our more difficult legislators & leaders!!)
- Share who you are, where you are from (town/city & church, if appropriate)
- Mention you are Lutheran, and an advocate with Lutheran Advocacy-MN (that can be in the closing, intro, or body of your email).
- The “ask”
- See “What is Needed” above in yellow
- Personalize why you care
- Are there any shovel ready projects you are aware of your community? Mention them
- Mention what you or your church are already doing to address housing needs in your community
- If you are a young person, mention what grade you are in. Mention if you know any kids from school whose family needs housing that doesn’t cost too much.
- General Information (NOT NEEDED unless you want more than what you’ve said to personalize the email. Don’t choose more than 1-2 & put them in your own words)
- More than 580,000 families were paying too much for housing, even before the health emergency
- The COVID virus has increased how vulnerable people are, including in the area of housing.
- State bonding is an important tool that helps the more housing be built.
- We want some of the housing bonds to help build both new housing, and some new shelters across the state.
- Building more apartments and homes helps create thousands of new jobs.
- Building more housing means there is more money circulating in local communities. That helps the depressed economy.
- There are already many housing projects ready to be built across the state. They just need the funding.
- God wants us to protect people who are vulnerable (including families with children, people who lost their jobs, people who are sick & can’t work)
- Closing (Summarize and/or use something like the following in your own words)
- Minnesota will thrive when everyone has a place to call home
- Bonds for affordable housing will strengthen Minnesota’s Housing Continuum in every corner of the state.
- Thanks for public service
- Please support significant funds in bonds for housing!
Thanks so much for your action and your concerns for justice in God’s world!