Storybank

Your story matters

Live in Minnesota and have a story to share about your experience getting access to health care, housing, employment, child care, food, or more? Or perhaps you work for an organization that intersects with any of these systems and can bring your perspective? Let us know using the form below! 

Why share? During the first half of 2021, Minnesota policymakers will be making decisions that will affect our everyday lives. Collectively, we have the power to influence those decisions by advocating for our needs and priorities. 

With some of the worst racial disparities in the nation, we are well aware that Minnesota is long overdue for real, substantial change. And, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession have only exacerbated the needs of our Minnesota households and laid bare the longstanding inequities that exist in our state. It is up to us to hold our policymakers accountable as they will need to make decisions that not only respond to the needs of the pandemic and economic downturn, but also make real progress on racial equity.

One powerful way to do that is by sharing the stories and experiences of everyday Minnesotans—you! Your voices can help mold strong, thoughtful policies that will build a better Minnesota: use them! 

Pillsbury United Communities

Featured Storybank Entries:

Laurie Berner

Arc Northland, Duluth, MN
The issue that is most important to me is:
Disability Services and Mental Health

Arc Northland fully supports higher wages and benefits proposed by the Collective Bargaining Unit for hard-working PCAs, however, we need to ensure that the reimbursement rate for providers adequately funds these increases. As a PCA Choice agency, Arc Northland is still struggling from the inadequate reimbursement rate from two years ago, when the PCA wage went up by $1.25 but the reimbursement rate only was increased by 40 cents. If once again the proposed rate does not support the wage requirements, we will be forced to have a difficult conversation with our Board of Directors about the feasibility of continuing the PCA Choice Service. This would be devastating to the 200+ people with disabilities and their families who depend on Arc Northland to provide this service. It is our hope to continue to engage with the Legislature and the Department of Human Services on how the funding that is coming from the American Recovery Act could help us in the short term, until the PCA Rate Framework is implemented in January of 2023. PCA’s do important work and they deserve a decent wage, but if the reimbursement is not adequate, no one wins, because the jobs they currently hold will be unsustainable and the people being served will be left little to no options, other than nursing homes. That is not what people want and will cost the state substantially more funding than a rate adjustment for PCA wages. Help us, help people receive the services they need to stay in their own homes and keep all the valuable PCA’s employed. Thank you! Laurie Berner, Executive Director 

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Zack Eichten

MN Coalition for the Homeless
The issue that is most important to me is:
Housing and Homelessness

The MN Coalition for the Homeless works toward ending homelessness in Minnesota. However, with a state budget that has historically been scarce on resources toward addressing housing and homelessness, advocates are forced to work against each other for small pieces of the state budget. We need intentional investment to address the massive disparities in housing opportunities in Minnesota, and the only way to do that is to have a budget that is more equitable where wealthy Minnesotans pay their fair share. We support Together We Rise to make this reality possible.

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Jessica Webster

Legal Services Advocacy Project
The issue that is most important to me is:
Food Security

The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the issue of hunger as a national crisis. How would millions of people afford groceries following unexpected job losses ? How would children access free school meals when buildings were closed? Where would our seniors get nutrition when senior transportation and meal services paused? This crisis prompted the federal and Minnesota governments to embrace flexibility, innovation, and necessary investments to meet the moment for addressing hunger. We saw unprecedented innovations and investments in emergency cash stimulus aid, SNAP benefits, food shelf funding, and school meals. As we move through the pandemic, the recovery has been uneven. Not every Minnesotan has been able to return to pre-COVID work schedules or in-person learning. As SNAP supplements and free school meals end, many Minnesota families will experience a cliff in their food security. We are asking state and federal lawmakers to consider the food security needs of families, children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Emergency SNAP benefits, free school meals, and monthly child tax credits should be made permanent. We can cut child poverty and hunger in half or more by retaining these investments.

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Leah Gardner

Hunger Solutions Minnesota
The issue that is most important to me is:
Food Security

Hunger Solutions Minnesota remains dedicated to addressing food shelf and hunger relief needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and benefit cliffs (i.e. the recent loss of the $300 in extra unemployment insurance and the upcoming loss of SNAP emergency allotments). Despite generous support from the state in 2020, we were only able to fund a fraction of the many requests that came in from food shelves and other hunger-relief organizations around the state to address hunger needs with COVID Relief Funds. In addition, there were many more meal providers (i.e. Meals on Wheels) that could make more of an impact with additional funding to address the increased needs, especially with the record number of seniors who are visiting food shelves (up 31% from 2019). In 2020 we learned how essential investing in delivery services was for many seniors, families without reliable transportation and isolated community members that struggled to get to their closest food shelves and meal program sites.We also learned that while our investments in hunger relief providers and benefits like SNAP and P-EBT helped to keep food insecurity rates from large increases overall, not everyone was reached equally and in fact BIPOC communities remained twice as likely to experience food insecurity.Unfortunately, we know those needs aren’t going away anytime soon. Past economic downturns indicate that the lowest-income households and BIPOC families will be the last to recover. As we prepare for the impact of temporary benefits sunsetting, more resources will be needed to make sure that our food shelves and hunger relief partners continue to have the capacity to serve all Minnesotans experiencing hunger. Together we stand ready to continue applying lessons learned and innovating to reach all those in need. 

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