From the Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP): What HUD's new fair housing rule really means.

All of HUD community development and public housing grantees must continue to address unlawful discrimination as in the past; but now they must also act to address disparities in housing need and in access to opportunity. Full 24 August 2015  article here.  

Also from Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) on 19 August 2015:

New County Profiles released: Rents up in 82 counties amidst short supply

One Time Volunteer Help Needed Oct. 22

Every three years Wilder Research conducts a statewide survey of homeless families, single adults and youth. This valuable information from thousands of households in Minnesota is a vital tool to communicate with legislators and funders on the need for services and housing. Your help is needed to conduct surveys at community locations in Dakota Co. on Thurs. Oct. 22. Contact Jean MacFarland at 952-894-2033 or jeanmacfarland@comcast.net for information. Training provided on Oct. 13 from 1 - 3pm or as arranged. Join this effort that will help the Heading Home Dakota Plan move forward in ending homelessness. See poster here.

Suburban Integration and/or Neighborhood-Based Development? The Path Forward for Affordable Housing and Equitable Development

by Craig at KFAI On-air date: Mon, 08/24/2015 (listen to program here. program starts 4:30 minutes into stream.)

Since the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s, two approaches to racial justice have competed for community support and financial resources. On the one hand, advocates for racial integration challenged the exclusion of African-Americans from neighborhoods, schools and employment opportunities. Citizens of all races and ethnic backgrounds, they argued, should be able to live in any community they choose. And along with choice of neighborhoods would come the social and economic benefits accorded whites.

Advocates of community control, on the other hand, believed that only by building up African American communities could genuine racial equity be achieved. These arguments had parallels in other ethnic and cultural communities, as well. Today, both advocates for housing integration and placed-based development see their approach as a way to reduce racial inequities and build a sturdy path out of poverty.#To explore where these paths converge—and perhaps at times diverge—Truth to Tell will feature a conversation with Sue Watlov Phillips, executive director of one of the region’s premier housing advocacy organizations, the Minnesota Interfaith Council of Affordable Housing. MICAH, as it is commonly known, has joined several inner-ring suburbs and Minneapolis community groups in legal complaints challenging policies that concentrate housing in high-poverty areas. 

Also joining the discussion are Owen Duckworth, who works on the Equity in Place initiative as coalition organizer for the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, and Nelima Sitati Munene, who helped rebuild housing in North Minneapolis in the aftermath of the recent devastating tornado and continues to work on affordable housing issues in the northwest suburbs where she resides. Nelima also served on the Metropolitan Council’s Housing Policy Planning Work Group, which will influence housing development in the metro region for the next 25 years.

The waiting list for Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) in St. Paul will open for 7 days in September. 

The Section 8 waiting list will be open from Wednesday, September 9th at 8:00 AM through Tuesday, September 15th at 4:30 PM. The application process will be online only. During the open period the application can be accessed 24 hours a day at www.waitlistcheck.com/MN2756. The official notice from the St. Paul Public Housing Agency (PHA) can be found here. Notice from HousingLink is here

In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread. -Anatole France 

Justice Department Files Brief to Address the Criminalization of Homelessness

The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest today arguing that making it a crime for people who are homeless to sleep in public places, when there is insufficient shelter space in a city, unconstitutionally punishes them for being homeless. The statement of interest was filed in federal district court in Idaho in Bell v. City of Boise et al., a case brought by homeless plaintiffs who were convicted under Boise ordinances that criminalize sleeping or camping in public.

As stated by the Justice Department in its filing,...http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-files-brief-address-criminalization-homelessness

What is the status of affordable housing in the Twin Cities? Read these...

Twin Cities suburbs need more affordable housing, Met Council says

Demolition paves way for Dorothy Day expansion

Met Council: More residents in poverty in suburbs than in urban core

Leaving was the easy part: Domestic violence victims struggle to find affordable homes

U.S. HUD secretary finds successes and questions in north Minneapolis tour

Twin Cities low-cost housing is drying up - especially in suburbs

Minnesota Housing Partnership Press Release on Rental Housing in the Twin Cities

Out of Reach Report- National Low Income Housing

Last month (June 25, 2015) the Supreme Court decided that claims of racial discrimination in housing cases should not be limited by questions of intent.

That is very important to MICAH and other groups working to reduce concentrations of poverty in housing. Last November MICAH and the cities of Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, and Richfield filed a complaint with HUD against several state agencies based in part on the fact that the agencies’ policies have furthered concentrations of poverty in housing, whether or not that was their intent. In March MICAH and three Minneapolis neighborhood groups: the Whittier Alliance, the Webber-Camden Neighborhood Organization, and Folwell Neighborhood Organization filed a similar complaint with HUD against the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. This Supreme Court decision will impact both of these complaints. For an article from Minnesota Public Radio explaining the impact of the court decision, click here.

Twin Cities shelters scramble to help homeless seniors 

Local agencies are scrambling to help elders who lack safety net 

Star Tribune article by Jessie Van Berkel here.

Pioneer Press article "Twin Cities low-cost housing is drying up - especially in suburbs" By Bob Shaw here.

MICAH sets 2015 Legislative Agenda
See new agenda here.

Dakota County launches homelessness awareness campaign 

Bleak posters with messages like, “Daddy lost his job. Now I sleep in the back seat,” will soon appear in community centers and churches, newspaper advertisements and even a billboard or two in Dakota County.The county plans to spend the next year raising awareness of homelessness. For the full article from the StarTribune click here. To see the posters, click here.


A coalition of Minneapolis neighborhood and housing organizations filed a complaint Monday, March 31, with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), charging that the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are violating the Fair Housing Act and other federal civil rights laws. The Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH), Folwell Neighborhood Association, Webber-Camden Neighborhood Organization, and Whittier Alliance Neighborhood Association all contend that the region’s two largest cities have contributed to housing segregation and unequal opportunity across the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Press release is here and the complaint here

This is in addition to the complaint filed earlier by Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Richfield, and the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH) charging that Minnesota State agencies are violating the Fair Housing Act.

Why Are the Twin Cities So Segregated? 

Myron Orfield, a University of Minnesota law professor and director of the school’s Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity has issued a new report, “Why Are the Twin Cities So Segregated?” For an overview, check the MinnPost article here.

Press Release: Minnesota State Legislators Support HUD Fair Housing Complaint

MICAH issued a press release today (3/20/15) listing a number of Minnesota legislators who have recently indicated their support for the HUD fair housing complaint filed by the Metropolitan Interfaith Affordable Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH), and the cities of Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, and Richfield, against several state agencies. 

The complaint was filed last November. It asserts that the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the Metropolitan Council have perpetuated housing segregation in the Twin Cities region, concentrating racial minorities and families with low incomes in a handful of suburbs. 

The entire press release, including support letters from legislators, can be read here: Press Release: Minnesota State Legislators Support HUD Fair Housing Complaint.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the United for Homes Campaign applaud Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) for his Common Sense Housing Investment Act of 2015, H.R. 1662, which he introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today (3/26/15). For more click here

MICAH joined with more than 1,330 others across the nation in signing the SAVE for All federal budget letter. Because so many participated, the Coalition on Human Needs was able to tell every member of Congress that service providers (more than 400) faith groups (more than 250), labor, civil rights, policy experts, community-based and small business groups and other advocates support a federal budget that protects low-income and vulnerable people, invests in a stronger economy for ALL of us, and is responsible in paying for the services we need through increased revenues from fair sources and savings by curbing waste in the Pentagon and elsewhere. At this count, 218 national organizations joined with more than 1,100 state and local groups in signing the letter. For more click here.

Legislative Update

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Every One Counts!

As people of faith, we believe that everyone counts, that each person is a unique and special creation of God and that everyone, without exception, needs a safe, decent, accessible, and affordable home.

This month, HUD conducted its annual count of people experiencing homelessness. Unfortunately, because of HUD’s very restrictive definition of homelessness and how the count was done, it will significantly undercount the number of people actually experiencing homelessness (See links below).

A special Thank You to our faith leaders that assisted in this count. It is our hope and prayer that:
    People experiencing homelessness knew God’s and our faith leaders’ love, compassion and mercy for them.  Our faith leaders will renew their commitment to continue to be involved in direct service in meeting the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness and will continue advocating and working for justice, equity, and mercy in implementing structural and systemic changes in our country so that everyone, without exception, has a decent, safe, accessible and affordable place to call home.
Together, with God’s Blessings, We are Bringing America, Minnesota, and our Community Home every day!


What are MICAH’s priorities?
To advocate and work for justice, equity, and mercy in implementing structural and systemic changes, including the use of our tax resources, so that everyone, without exception, has a decent, safe, accessible and affordable place to call Home in our community.

From the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) What’s Hot on the Hill? Webinars on Federal Policy for Homeless Children and Youth.

GIVE THANKS and Give to the MAX for MICAH

As we thank God for the Blessings we received this year, let us double that blessing by sharing them to ensure everyone has a HOME in Our Community!

Your support is needed to continue

MICAH's work has been very effective in two arenas: 1) Advocacy along our transit corridors to create and maintain safe, decent, accessible and affordable homes and, 2) Through our legislative work at both the Federal and State Levels. We've had tremendous success with our housing partners in the legislature and impacting policy decisions this year including:

Passage of Housing Opportunities Made Equitable (HOME) Bill. $21.3 million allocated in the MHFA. 2014 and 2015 Plans for innovative financial training and home ownership opportunities for people of color, Native Americans and Hispanic ethnicity. $100 million bonding to build and rehab affordable housing. Increased Minimum Wage and public assistance benefits and passed the Expungement Bill. We also actively supporting funding for HR1213 and funding the National Housing Trust Fund http://nlihc.org/unitedforhomes

Please consider making a generous gift, for those of you who are struggling. Any gift will help, especially, the gift of prayer!

Donate by clicking micah.org/home/donate or givemn.org

Or mail a check to: MICAH 463 Maria Ave St. Paul, MN, 55106-4428.

Just try out giving God! Together, in God’s will and blessings, We are Bringing Our Community HOME!
Thank you!

Sue Watlov Phillips, Executive Director

Minnesota Cities, Neighborhoods, and Housing Groups Challenge State’s Failure to Ensure Fair Housing — Coalition Files Complaint with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

A coalition of Minneapolis’s three most diverse suburbs and an interfaith affordable housing organization filed a complaint today with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) charging that State agencies are violating the Fair Housing Act. The cities of Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, and Richfield, and the organization, the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH), contend that the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities have caused housing segregation and unequal opportunity across the Twin Cities region. Specifically, the complainants say, the agencies are intentionally concentrating affordable rental homes, in which minority families frequently live, in segregated, “low-opportunity” neighborhoods disconnected from quality schools, dependable transportation, or living-wage jobs. The State’s actions diminish quality housing options for everyone who lives in the Twin Cities area, the complaint explains. And they are unjustly withholding from the entire region the benefits of diverse, prosperous communities that offer opportunity for all.

The complaint is the first of two expected to be filed. MICAH is also serving as a complainant in the second filing, alongside three Minneapolis neighborhood groups: the Whittier Alliance, the Webber-Camden Neighborhood Organization, and Folwell Neighborhood Organization. The second complaint alleges many of the same Fair Housing Act violations, but identifies shortcomings within racially concentrated areas of poverty in the central cities and names Minneapolis and Saint Paul as respondents.

“Equal opportunity and diverse, thriving communities are crucial to our region’s prosperity in the 21st century, said Jeffrey Lunde, Mayor of Brooklyn Park. “When it comes to building a successful region, we’re all in it together. But the State’s actions have ignored that reality and violated the nation’s fair housing laws by segregating families of color overwhelmingly in the same few neighborhoods and disconnecting them from opportunity. Our complaint is designed to correct that, in ways that will benefit all the people of our region.”

Sue Watlov Phillips, Executive Director of MICAH, and Reverend Dr. Arthur Agnew, who sits on the organization’s board, said: “Our decision to bring this complaint is rooted in faith, as well as the values of our state and nation. Our 75 member congregations and supporting organizations represent a wide array of faith perspectives—Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. We believe God intends for all people to be decently housed and to have access to greater opportunity through access to excellent schools, dependable transportation, and living-wage jobs that allow them to support their families. We also believe that the color of your skin, where you were born, or the accent you have should have no bearing on where you can choose to live. Through the resolution of this complaint, we seek to make that vision—which is shared by the vast majority of Minnesotans—a reality in our region.”

The cities filing the complaint are among the most diverse in the region. “We’re proud of the vibrant diversity of our city,” said Tim Wilson, Mayor of Brooklyn Center, “But it is harder and harder to preserve that diversity, and the benefits that flow from it, when the State is perpetuating segregation instead of fair housing.” According to Curt Boganey, Brooklyn Center’s City Manager, the complaint will help the city to “continue producing a fair share of high-quality affordable housing for its residents.” But if state authorities do not obey federal civil rights laws, segregation runs the risk of overwhelming the city’s best efforts.

The complaints are being brought under the Fair Housing Act, a landmark civil rights law passed in 1968 in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale was a chief sponsor of the Act, and his call for “truly integrated and balanced living patterns” still resonates today. The law prohibits discrimination and segregation in housing, and requires that States and municipalities who choose to receive funding from the federal government take proactive steps to further fair housing.

“This is a moral and legal obligation, but also a matter of government accountability,” said Debbie Goettel, mayor of Richfield. The State receives millions of dollars in federal HUD funding for community and economic development, but continues to violate the responsibility to protect fair housing that comes with those funds.

The complainants are represented by Michael Allen, a partner in the civil rights law firm Relman, Dane & Colfax. Myron Orfield serves as local counsel.

Contact: Sue Watlov Phillips, Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing, 612-590-9577 sue@micah.org or Aaron Parker, 612-327-1729, bap@metropeligo.com
Jamie Verbrugge, City of Brooklyn Park, 763-493-8002, jamie.verbrugge@brooklynpark.org
Steve Devich, City of Richfield, 612-861-9702, sdevich@cityofrichfield.org
Curt Boganey, City of Brooklyn Center, 763-569-3300, cboganey@ci.brooklyn-center.mn.us

To read the complaint, click Complaint_Final_Filed_2014_11_10.pdf

Comments from the Press

Facing the facts on affordable housing in the Twin Cities 

Where to put affordable housing? Met Council tackles plan this week






United for Homes Campaign 

MICAH Summer 2014 Newsletter is in the mail!

To see it online, click here.

To see the list of Home Bill supporters, click Housing Opportunities Made Equitable supporters

To see the history of the HOME Bill, click HOME_BILL_HISTORY

State Councils MICAH Build Wealth MN testifying on MN Housing an

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We encourage everyone to review and comment on the Metro Council's draft Housing Policy Plan

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2014 Legislative Successes

Look here to see the progress made at the 2014 legislature.
MICAH supports Second Chance
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MICAH Northeast

The Northeast chapter of MICAH is re-energizing. They just issued the following statement:
We are a group, representing diverse faith communities, living in both Ramsey and Washington counties, and meeting monthly, alternating between the city halls of Mahtomedi and White Bear Lake. We cultivate relationships with city, state and Met Council officials and administrators.
During 2014 we have urged the city of Mahtomedi to include affordable housing in the development of a former school site and supported the city's plan for a totally affordable apartment building for seniors on a former restaurant site. We continue to work with and support St. Andrew's Resource Center, Hope for the Journey Home, and Solid Ground as each helps homeless families toward permanent and affordable housing. We support and encourage the building of Habitat for Humanity homes in our communities; one is being built in White Bear Lake this year. We have representation on the Citizens Advisory Council for the Gateway Corridor and advocate for transit to make access to jobs available for the folks currently living in affordable neighborhoods as well as making future affordable housing possible. We continue to advocate at the state level through several agencies and organizations such as MICAH and JRLC.

MetroStats: Income, Education, and Immigration in the Twin Cities, 2008-2012

Regional Policy and Research recently published a new MetroStats providing an overview of the region’s 186 cities and townships during the 2008-2012 period, with particular attention to the variation across census tracts within communities. The report is based on American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

For full info, click here.

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