2022 Legislative Agenda
Catholic Charities is a regional leader of housing, emergency shelter and direct services, serving over 23,000 men, women, children and families each year with a focus on achieving and maintaining housing stability.
Our legislative agenda prioritizes achieving racial equity and social justice and emphasizes the need for greater public investments to stabilize Catholic Charities’ program operations in the face of increasing financial challenges, including workforce shortages, inflation and declining philanthropic support. It is grounded in the experiences of those we serve and with input from our clients, staff and partners.
Building on recent legislative successes, a strong regional delegation and growing statewide partnerships, and in the midst of an ongoing pandemic and state budget surplus, we will continue to call for action and investments to support the COVID-19 response, nonprofit social service providers, and those they serve, including but not limited to:
- COVID relief for providers like Catholic Charities by way of the Emergency Services Program (ESP), stabilization grants for childcare and children’s day treatment programs, and DHS waivers
- Increased, ongoing state investments that support Catholic Charities programs and operations, like ESP, the Homeless Youth Act, Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and shelter capital
- Support for local government shelter and housing-related requests
We will continue to bring a supportive voice to legislation most impacting our clients while developing bases of support for larger system changes we will lead to advance racial equity and social justice.
Building Pathways to Stable Housing
Nearly 8,000 people experience homelessness across Minnesota on any given night, and many more are facing unstable housing situations that put them on the edge of homelessness. Solving the state’s housing crisis requires additional investments and policy changes along the full housing continuum, from emergency shelter to rental opportunities to homeownership.
Catholic Charities supports proposals that address housing shortages, advance tenant protections, and strengthen supportive services for those working toward housing stability. This includes but is not limited to:
- Ensuring dignified shelter for those in need, including investments in the Emergency Services Program and Homeless Youth Act and supporting the work of the Shelter Task Force
- Increasing the number of deeply affordable and accessible housing units
- Reforming eviction processes
- Removing discriminatory practices in accessing housing
- Implementing Housing Stabilization Services and renters’ assistance programs to ensure resources reach those in need
We are leading conversations to reform Housing Support income calculations that lead individuals to remain unsheltered or prevent them from gaining further housing and economic independence, and to change timelines associated with definitions of long-term homelessness to streamline eligibility and address barriers to timely assistance.
Promoting the Health & Well-Being of Children, Seniors & Families
Safe, stable housing is foundational to a person’s well-being and ensuring children have a healthy start in life. We also know that challenges related to the high cost and accessibility of healthcare and health-related supports can threaten the stability of one’s housing and have ripple effects across generations. A growing senior population and an increase in homelessness among adults 55+ also pose unique challenges to our state.
Catholic Charities supports policies and programs that aim to eliminate health inequities, ensure all Minnesotans have access to comprehensive healthcare, and increase diversity in the healthcare workforce. This includes but is not limited to:
- Increasing access to mental health services like crisis services in shelters and school-linked mental health
- Increasing access to paid family and medical leave and affordable childcare (e.g., CCAP)
- Establishing a statewide Medicaid recuperative care model
- Preventing domestic violence
- Strengthening efforts to end hunger and food insecurity (e.g. SNAP)
- Supporting a more robust public transportation system
As a leading provider of care coordination for individuals on elderly and disability waivers, Catholic Charities seeks to inform conversations on case management redesign and waiver reimagine to ensure the programs and systems intended to support informed choice and independent living are meeting their needs. We support innovations for aging in place and proposals that promote an age-friendly Minnesota, including increasing the number of accessible housing units that exist across the state and addressing PCA workforce shortages.
Advancing Social Justice, Ending Racism, & Promoting Economic & Community Vitality
There are numerous factors that contribute to experiencing homelessness beyond the lack of affordable housing, discriminatory housing policies and chronic health conditions. Poverty and homelessness are inextricably linked. So, too, are experiences of incarceration and homelessness.
Catholic Charities supports criminal justice reforms and the adoption of standards and ethics centered on advancing human rights, improving public safety, and ending mass incarceration. This includes but is not limited to:
- Removing barriers for people experiencing housing instability to vote and restoring voter rights for people released from prison
- Reforming expungement processes
- Regulating payday loans to curb predatory lending practices
- Reforming occupational licensing restrictions
- Establishing racial equity impact notes to guide state policymaking