At Beacon, our vision is simple: All people have a home. No exceptions.
All people have a home regardless of race, disability, sexual orientation, and religion.
We live in a society that now believes that discrimination in housing is wrong.
When I was a child, this wasn’t true. I am proud to say that my parents became involved in helping to pass and then enforce the new fair housing law in 1964. In our suburban community, when a black family went to buy a home listed for sale, they were told it was no longer for sale. My white parents would follow and it was suddenly for sale again. With the new law, they could prove discrimination and the black family was able to buy the home after all.
All people have a home. No exceptions.
But, what if I add “regardless of income?”
Most people believe that a home is essential. At a very basic level, we all need a home to stay safe from the cold and from danger. So why is it that we allow so many of our neighbors to struggle to meet this very basic need?
"Most people believe that a home is essential. At a very basic level, we all need a home to stay safe from the cold and from danger. So why is it that we allow so many of our neighbors to struggle to meet this very basic need?"
Can we build a community consensus around a broader vision of fairness and justice? Can we work toward a community in which all people have a home regardless of income?
I don’t mean that homes should be free. I mean that all people should be able to find a quality home with an affordable rent. Everyone—child care workers, retail clerks, restaurant servers, and so many others who work in jobs we all rely on.
Economists agree that families cannot pay more than 30% of their income and still have enough money to meet their other basic needs for food, health care and transportation. In reality, close to 100,000 households in the Twin Cities metro area pay more than half of their income for rent.
This leaves many families hanging on by their fingernails. One unexpected expense can topple everything. Right here in our community, 20,000 families and individuals experience homelessness every year.
Beacon addresses the primary cause of homelessness by creating homes with affordable rents. 85% of our homes are affordable to families and individuals earning less than $25,000 a year.
We have an ambitious plan to double the number of homes that we create each year. Over the next five years, we will launch ten new initiatives to create homes throughout the Twin Cities metro area.
We are also building a powerful collaborative of congregations. Our many faiths call us to create more equitable communities. Together, we can win the fight for policies and funding that impact whether there are homes people can afford.
We believe that there are enough resources for all of us to have a home. No exceptions.