Housing is considered a basic human need as it is a key factor in decreasing poverty and promoting economic mobility. On a statewide level, there has been a shortage of affordable housing which has had a negative effect on the lives of low-income families. According to the National Low Housing Coalition, “Severely cost burdened poor households are more likely than other renters to sacrifice other necessities like healthy food and healthcare to pay the rent, and to experience unstable housing situations like evictions” (NLIHC 2022). Having access to affordable housing reduces these stressors and often leads to improvement in both physical and mental health. In addition to a lack of affordable housing, there has also been a shortage in public housing and section 8 opportunities in Minnesota. This is especially accurate in areas or counties that have a high population of marginalized and disadvantaged groups.
At Daily Work, this is an unfortunate truth that job seekers are faced with when trying to apply for public housing or section 8. Several of Daily Work’s job seekers live in communities that not only lack affordable housing but have closed waiting lists. Currently, Dakota County is the only county in the metro area that is still accepting applications for waiting lists. Although this is a decent opportunity, the waiting lists are substantially long, and it is possible that it would be years before most applicants are placed in a home. Some of the job seekers I have worked with have expressed concern over this. These concerns are centered around essentially being forced to uproot their lives in order to not be homeless. One of my job seekers disclosed to me that she has strong ties to her community and where she currently resides allows her to have these connections. However, since Dakota county is far away from where she lives, she's concerned about losing those community ties. It is truly disappointing that her decision to move is not rooted in what she actually wants but it is what she has to do.
Stories like what I previously shared are just one of the multitude of reasons why increasing access to public housing is necessary. The housing crisis continues to be a problem and low income individuals are disproportionately affected. As of recently, there has been some development in congress to address this issue. The Affordable Housing Preservation Act was introduced early 2021 and the goal of this legislation is to ensure decent housing for disadvantaged groups. This is great progress, but it is not a one stop solution, other factors such as gentrification should be addressed as well. Many individuals who have the means to buy homes are choosing to buy cheaper homes in urban communities, which can result in a lack of housing and push low income people out of their neighborhood. Moreover, since wealthier folks move to these communities, the cost of living also rises which also contributes to the displacement. Therefore, it is important that those who are financially able do their part as well. Here at Daily Work, we strive to remove homelessness. If you are in need of affordable stable housing, please feel free to call us and set up an appointment, and our case managers will do their best to help.