St. Paul, Minn. (February 7, 2023)— On Tuesday, Feb. 7, Rep. Heather Keeler (DFL- Moorhead), Rep. Aisha Gomez (DFL- 62A), Rep. Mohamud Noor (DFL-60B), Rep. Liz Ryer (DFL-52A), Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-61), and Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, Youth Services Network, Catholic Charities, Simpson Housing, Hoes for All, and dozens of homeless and housing advocates held a press conference to highlight the urgency to pass needed resources that will help address Minnesota’s unsheltered homelessness crisis. HF444 | SF388, Pathway Home Act, significantly increases funding to critical state programs that support shelter providers across Minnesota in their direct response and service to Minnesotans who are currently unsheltered.
“This legislation is a direct reflection of what happens when a community comes together to demand change,” said Rep. Heather Keeler (DFL-Moorhead). “What we did with this bill is listen to the voices of advocates and those who are personally impacted by homelessness. We built a path that encourages others to add their stones to this path, each of us sits at tables and shares spaces where we are addressing pieces of preventing homelessness. We all have an active role in ending homelessness. The Pathway Home Act offers a strong foundation for the transformative work we continue to do to keep our future generations of Minnesotans housed.”
“The urgency of this bill is clear,” said Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis). “We need to get resources pulled together and out the door to help as many people as possible so that another winter does not go by like this one, with thousands in encampments on the streets, or in beds of those who are exploiting them. Organizations need to ramp up in a timely manner. Doing this sooner rather than later makes that possible.”
The Pathway Home Act requires the commissioner to prioritize grants for projects that improve or expand emergency shelter facility options. A criterion of the legislation mandates at least 40% of grant funds to be awarded to projects in greater Minnesota. HF 444, provides services to people who are 24 years of age or younger who are unaccompanied by a parent or guardian and without shelter where appropriate care and supervision are available, whose parent is unable or unwilling to provide shelter and care, or who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.
“On any given night, there are an estimated 20,000 children, adults, and seniors experiencing homelessness in Minnesota. Over the course of a year, around 50,000 Minnesotans will experience unsheltered homelessness (Wilder Research Homeless Study),” said Rhonda Otteson, Executive Director of Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless. “The resources appropriated in the Pathway Home Act will move Minnesota closer to ensuring that homelessness is brief, rare, and nonrecurring. These investments will support critical programming, as well as shelter and housing infrastructure that is: culturally responsive, physically accessible, amenable to sensory needs, safe and secure for victims of domestic violence, appropriate for the needs of youth, and provide gender-affirming safety and support. We need shelter spaces that are safe and designed to meet the specific needs of Minnesota’s shelter guests.”
Yesterday, February 6, 2023, the Ways and Means committee approved the bill with a 17-10 vote and was referred to the general register.
Additional information and documents from the hearing are available on the committee webpage.