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The Opportunity of the 2020 Election: Advance a Vision for Home

Dan Gregory September 14, 2020

Candidate forums help advance home

by Ben Helvick Anderson and Elizabeth Tannen

In Minnesota, no matter our differences, people recognize the importance of having a home. We celebrate our values of inclusion and mutual respect, compassion, and dignity for all.

But today, we are allowing too many of our neighbors to fall through the cracks. The pandemic and worsening economy are now exposing the brokenness of our housing system and how many people it leaves behind.

It is easy to see evidence of this: the increasing tents in our parks and underpasses vividly display that our shelter system, already scrambling to deal with high numbers of people experiencing homelessness, is stretched too thin.  

Less visible in this crisis are the forty percent of Minnesota renters who remain insecurely housed—living one emergency away from falling behind on rent. Now all of these neighbors are facing the same emergency at once, overwhelming the meager safety net we have in place.

We know that these conditions disproportionately impact Black, indigenous, and other Minnesotans of color— communities our society has long denied the resources needed for survival and for comfort.

If we do not do something to fix our already broken system, more than 100,000 of our families could be facing eviction. Without our urgent action, our already-historic housing crisis will spiral further out of control.

In this time of devastating crisis, we are called to act with bold solutions.

During this current election season of 2020, we must not remain silent about our values, the crisis, and solutions we need for real relief and real change. An election season isn’t only about debating different policies and solutions. It’s a moment for us as a society to define our fundamental values. It’s when we wrestle with big questions, like what our responsibility is to each other, whether we believe that all people deserve a home, if we are truly committed to racial equity, and whether we believe our collective table is big enough for us all.

As the Beacon collaborative, our faith traditions and values have answers to these questions. We need to insert our voice into this debate to advance our vision that “all people have a home” and talk about our solution, Bring It Home, MN.

In Minnesota, we don’t see home as a partisan issue. We can utilize nonpartisan tools that do not promote any one candidate or party over another, but rather engage everyone in discussing the importance of home, equity, and policy solutions that advance our vision.   

It is essential that everyone – you, me, each of us – raise our voice and engage candidates about the importance of home.

Beacon has developed sample questions that anyone – even you! – can ask candidates in forums, events, or personal conversation. We encourage you to download, read, and use this tool throughout the next few months:

Start today. Start right now. Home can’t wait another minute.

If you ask any candidates some of these questions, please let our policy director, Ben Helvick Anderson, know at bhelvickanderson@beaconinterfaith.org.

Beacon is also hosting our first candidate forums in the Western Suburbs. We are holding a candidate forum for House and Senate candidates on October 8 in District 44, which encompasses the southern half of Plymouth and the northern half of Minnetonka. We chose to work in this district because of the concentration of Beacon congregations in an area that does not regularly see housing as an election issue.

Beacon is also hosting a candidate forum for all candidates running for Hennepin County Commissioners that will be held on October 5

At both of these events we will lift up the importance of home and engage candidates in the discussion of how to move our vision forward.

You can be part of these crucial conversations.  Say YES to home by registering for these events here:

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