Policy & Advocacy
While Alliance Housing dipped its toe into policy advocacy two years ago, its new strategic plan sets the following goals:
- Goal: Articulate and advocate for a policy agenda that increases resources for housing those with the lowest income and addresses issues that impede access to and retention of stable housing.
- Goal: Articulate and establish Alliance’s brand among key stakeholders in community.
Alliance’s policy agenda revolves around the following three categories.
1. Bricks & Mortar | Building More Affordable Housing
Alliance Housing feels the weight of the market-wide shortage of affordable housing through the number of calls we receive daily and the stories we hear from our recently-housed residents. Additional affordable housing units are necessary to end homelessness. Alliance takes its lead from several policy collaboratives and organizations including: Homes for All Coalition MN, Make Homes Happen MPLS, MN Housing Partnership, MN Coalition for the Homeless and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
During the 2019 Make Homes Happen MPLS successfully influenced the Mayor to continue resources in the 2020 budget for affordable housing. The Mayor has proposed a plan to provide $50M of local funds to the Housing Trust Fund over an eight year period. This is the first step in establishing an ongoing, dedicated resource.
2. Access to Affordability | Lowering the Barriers
While money for housing is fundamental, we also are working to ensure that affordable housing is available for all. At Alliance Housing, we practice Housing First, giving people a chance regardless of their criminal, rental, or financial background. We are working to expand the housing market by increasing opportunities across the market for our current and prospective tenants.
There is evidence of this work in government capital funder applications and public policy. Hennepin County and MN Housing now ask applicants how they will “screen in (verses out)” tenants. The City of Minneapolis City Council adopted two tenant protections measures in September 2019: one to set maximum look-back criteria in criminal screening practices and the second to limit the amount of security deposits landlords can charge. Alliance and others were active in organizing support for the ordinances.
3. Opportunity for Stability | Supporting Agendas for Prosperity
Along with the priorities directly relating to housing, we know this alone is not enough. We recognize that our tenants lives won’t be stabilized without fair wages and dignified treatment in the workplace, rehabilitative justice systems, and access to programs and supports for mental health treatment.
Alliance Housing’s 2018 tenant policy survey indicates that better wages and criminal justice reform is high on their priorities.