Connecting At Home: Jeopardy Edition

Dylan Novacek July 24, 2020

Written by Dylan Novacek, Content Specialist

Queue the music – it’s time to play Jeopardy. I’ll take “Housing” for $500!

As COVID-19 prevents us from gathering, Beacon organizers have taken steps to connect digitally. At our virtual Hennepin County Jeopardy event, attendees learned about the power and influence Hennepin County, and it’s commissioners, wield in our ability to create homes for all.

“Hennepin County government touches so many parts of what happens in the Twin Cities,” shared Beacon Congregational Organizer Drew Rindfleisch. “From housing to employment, Hennepin holds a lot of power as we move forward in our work.”

As our collaborating congregations grow in their advocacy, being able to recognize the scope of work our county commissioners do is critical.  Their leadership selection, budgeting choices, public health decisions and more greatly influence life in the Twin Cities.

Throughout the next six – nine months, congregations in Hennepin County will be engaging with their county commissioners to push us forward in our goals to create new homes such as Emerson Village, our recently announced family supportive housing development in North Minneapolis.

“Through the strength of faith communities, we’re creating home,” exclaimed our intern Ella Boyer, who worked on the event. “I’ve always been passionate about working with faith communities. We’re expanding the bench of leadership and putting energy into building power for our collaborative in Hennepin County.”

Our Jeopardy host Rev. Cindy Hillger, Deacon at St. Martin’s by-the-Lake Episcopal Church in Minnetonka Beach, believes channeling that power to create new homes is vital for our communities.

“You can’t have stable communities without having stable homes,” Cindy confidently asserted. “Our congregation was along for the ride when Cranberry Ridge was being built. It highlighted the fact that even in affluent communities homelessness exists. We feel so strongly about our Beacon mission.”

This Beacon mission includes creating about 50 new homes in North Minneapolis. Homes like Cranberry Ridge, Vista 44, and Emerson Village take $750,000 in launch funding to become a reality. Through being informed on our local leaders and voicing support, we get closer to seeing that all people have a home.

“This Jeopardy event educated me on why the elective body in Hennepin County is so important,” Cindy reflected. “Beacon is a leader in advocacy with their bold goals. For this event, they thought outside the box to get us engaged in these issues. And it was a lot of fun too!”

As a former news anchor for WCCO, Cindy had no problem hosting the event. Together, Beacon leaders educated each other and came out with new tools on how to make change within their communities.

“I felt so much more informed,” shared Jeopardy winner Rev. Barb Martin of Union Congregational United Church of Christ in St. Louis Park. “I think these types of events are a great learning tool during a time where people are looking for reasons to have fun!”

“I learned how critical our public officials are. Hennepin County is a critical link to creating new homes,” Cindy beamed, confident in her ability to make change. “Beacon is giving us the tools to be better advocates together.

While the typical webcam style meetings may get stale, we aim to engage our supporters in exciting and innovative ways. As we move forward in our shared Beacon mission, we remain connected by home while staying at home.

“Home is safety, comfort, and a place to feel safe,” Cindy paused, thinking of our neighbors who struggle without a home. “Seeing these tent cities and encampments pop up is so disheartening. Now more than ever we need to continue educating ourselves and advocating for home.”

Have you taken steps towards becoming a more informed advocate for home? Learn how you can connect with our Beacon mission. Click here to learn how we can work together to see that all people have a home.