Catholic Charities’ is proud to announce its 2022 legislative agenda, which builds on recent legislative successes and growing statewide partnerships to prioritize racial equity, social justice and greater public investments to stabilize Catholic Charities’ program operations in the face of increasing financial challenges. The agenda is the product of months of conversations with Catholic Charities staff, clients and partners and can be found in its entirety here.
Amid an ongoing pandemic and state budget surplus, Catholic Charities is continuing to call for action and investments to support the COVID-19 response, nonprofit social service providers and those they serve, including but not limited to:
- COVID relief for providers like Catholic Charities by way of the Emergency Services Program (ESP), stabilization grants for childcare and children’s day treatment programs, and Department of Human Services (DHS) waivers that provide flexibilities needed to safely continue program operations in the pandemic environment
- Increased, ongoing state investments that support Catholic Charities programs and operations, like ESP, the Homeless Youth Act, Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and shelter capital
- Support for local government shelter and housing-related requests
We will continue to bring a supportive voice to legislation most impacting our clients while also developing bases of support for larger system changes we will lead to advance racial equity and social justice.
Building Pathways to Stable Housing
Nearly 8,000 people experience homelessness across Minnesota at any given time, and many more face unstable housing situations that put the at the verge of homelessness. Solving the state’s housing crisis requires significant additional investments and policy changes across the full range of housing options, from emergency shelter to rental opportunities to home ownership.
Catholic Charities supports proposals that address housing shortages, advance tenant protections and strengthen services for those working towards housing stability. This includes but is not limited to:
- Increasing the number of deeply affordable and accessible housing units across the state
- Reforming eviction processes
- Removing discriminatory practices in accessing housing (e.g., prohibiting source of income discrimination against housing applicants receiving Section 8/Housing Choice Vouchers)
We are leading conversations to reform Housing Support income calculations that lead individuals to remain unsheltered or prevent them from gaining further housing and economic independence, and to change timelines associated with definitions of long-term homelessness to streamline eligibility and address barriers to timely assistance
Promoting the Health & Well-Being of Children, Seniors, & Families
Safe, stable housing is foundational to a person’s well-being and ensuring children have a healthy start in life. We also know that challenges related to the high cost and accessibility of healthcare and health-related supports can threaten the stability of one’s housing and have ripple effects across generations. A growing senior population and an increase in homelessness among adults 55+ also pose unique challenges to our state.
Catholic Charities supports policies and programs that aim to eliminate health inequities, ensure all Minnesotans have access to comprehensive healthcare, and increase diversity in the healthcare workforce. This includes but is not limited to:
- Increasing access to mental health services like crisis services in shelters and school-linked mental health
- Increasing access to paid family and medical leave and affordable childcare
- Strengthening efforts to end hunger and food insecurity
- Supporting innovations for aging in place and proposals that promote an age-friendly Minnesota, including addressing PCA workforce shortages
Advancing Social Justice, Ending Racism, & Promoting Economic & Community Vitality
There are numerous factors that contribute to experiencing homelessness beyond the lack of affordable housing, discriminatory housing policies and chronic health conditions. Poverty and homelessness are inextricably linked. So, too, are experiences of incarceration and homelessness.
Catholic Charities supports criminal justice reforms and the adoption of standards and ethics centered on advancing human rights, improving public safety, and ending mass incarceration. This includes but is not limited to:
- Removing barriers for people experiencing housing instability to vote and restoring voter rights for people released from prison
- Reforming expungement processes
- Regulating payday loans to curb predatory lending practices
Be an Advocate for Change!
2022 is shaping up to be another fast-paced and action-packed legislative session as lawmakers debate a projected $7.7 billion state surplus, more than $1 billion in one-time federal stimulus funds, a bonding bill and redistricting, all within the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and upcoming midterm elections, which will see all 201 legislative and statewide seats on the ballot.
This legislative session also presents a new opportunity to build a better and more equitable future for all Minnesotans, and at Catholic Charities of St. Paul & Minneapolis, we’re ready to work in coalition with our partners, lawmakers and you to make it happen.
Sign up for our action alerts here or by texting “HOME” to 50457 to add your voice to our advocacy at critical decision points during session and receive monthly updates on Capitol happenings. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest announcements, too!
As a member of the Social Justice Advocacy & Engagement team, I lead the strategic development and execution of Catholic Charities’ public policy agenda. My work covers local, state and federal levels, advocating for policies and programs that promote justice in the community.