I won’t lie. We are disappointed by the decision of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency not to fund Prior Crossing, the future home for 44 homeless young adults, at this time. Our partners at the House of Hope Presbyterian Church are disappointed. But make no mistake, we remain committed to building Prior Crossing and providing supportive housing to formerly homeless young adults in St. Paul.
The needs of Minnesotans experiencing homelessness are urgent – whether they are families, adults with a history of homelessness and barriers to stability or youth and young adults, one of the fastest growing segments of Minnesotans experiencing homelessness.
And the resources are here – right here in our state and cities, if we have the will to use them.
In the near future there are more capital funding opportunities from the City of St. Paul and the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. We will pursue all these options. And, our Beacon Citizens will join other housing advocates in urging lawmakers to authorize $100 million in bonds this year to build and renovate affordable housing statewide.
The scope is large, the needs are formidable – and we take it one step at a time. That methodical approach is endemic to housing development – taking one step forward at a time, assembling one piece of the funding puzzle this month, another next month, and so on. The need to work a funding package like a puzzle is an example of the “complexities” surrounding housing policy that Dane Smith, president of Growth & Justice, referred to in his commentary examining the history of bipartisan support for affordable housing development.
Back to the one-step-at-a-time approach: For now, for Prior Crossing, opportunities with St. Paul are the most urgent. We understand the City Council / HRA will soon begin discussions about how to prioritize housing funding in 2014.
Beacon and House of Hope are meeting with City Council members to show that the City of St. Paul can make Prior Crossing happen.
We call upon St. Paul residents to contact their City Council members and deliver the same message. We may each be taking one step at a time, but we are walking together.