The Difference a Day Can Make: Homeless Day on the Hill
On Tuesday, March 15, hundreds of Minnesotans who support investments in affordable housing will gather at the Capitol for Homeless Day on the Hill. Coordinated by the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, Homeless Day on the Hill provides opportunities for community members to learn about advocacy and lobbying, meet with senators and representatives, and attend rallies or hearings around issues of affordable housing and preventing homelessness.
Wilder is a sponsor for Homeless Day on the Hill, and each year staff and participants from Family Supportive Housing Services attend to share our support for policies and programs that create more affordable housing and provide supportive services to people who have or are currently experiencing homelessness.
Engaging with Community and Lawmakers
As a case manager in a supportive housing program, I often work with my participants on individual and family issues that will improve their well-being. Homeless Day on the Hill is an opportunity to shift our discussions to include the importance of engaging with community and lawmakers, and to lift up voices that are often missing from policy decisions.
For some supportive housing participants, Homeless Day on the Hill is the first time they’ve been in the Capitol or communicated with an elected official. Sharing their stories of experiencing homelessness and overcoming adversity is an empowering experience for our participants, and a powerful message for legislators.
Real Stories Are Crucial
Homelessness is complex; it can be overwhelming to think about how to solve such an enormous social problem. Human faces and real stories of an issue can help increase the urgency and commitment to solving it, while also encouraging creative and inclusive thinking about what solutions should look like. Considering the chaos and complexity of homelessness, it is crucial to hear from people who have experienced homelessness about what would have been, or has been, helpful for them as they work toward stability.
Homelessness is an isolating experience. When people who have or are currently experiencing homelessness come to Homeless Day on the Hill, they can literally see a community of supporters who are passionate about ensuring that all Minnesotans have a safe place to live. It is always exciting to see people come together to share their voice and shape community, but Homeless Day on the Hill is especially inspiring. The diversity of attendees, shared values, and empowering stories all help to make it an exciting day. It sends a strong message to legislators that our community supports investments in affordable housing and services, and that all Minnesotans deserve a safe place to call home.
Caitlin Magistad is a case manager in Wilder’s Family Supportive Housing Services.