Align Mpls is the new name of the former Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness. Established in 2008, it is an interfaith collaboration of 18 Minneapolis congregations that addresses homelessness by focusing on long-term solutions through a combination of education, advocacy, prevention, and working directly with persons impacted by homelessness.
Here are some of the major programs Align undertakes to combat the plague of homelessness:
- The Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program supports individuals and families by providing rental assistance in a time of financial crisis, effectively helping people stay in their homes rather than face eviction and becoming homeless. ERA has helped over 500 households avoid homelessness since it began in 2016.
- Street Voices of Change (SVoC) empowers persons who have current or past experiences with homelessness by offering a loving community that meets regularly to create positive change and restore dignity to every aspect of the homeless experience. SVoC members reach out to the sheltered and the unsheltered, offering community and support for coping with this traumatizing experience.
They campaign for affordable housing policy solutions by participating in advocacy actions at the State Capitol with Homes4All and the MN Coalition for the Homeless (Homeless Day on the Hill 2019 pictured here). They also meet with elected officials and county policy makers. To date they have developed a Shelter Residents Bill of Rights, which has been adopted in Hennepin County, and they have successfully campaigned and leveraged support for a soon to be opened shelter for women of color experiencing homelessness.
- StreetSong MN is a program that empowers the homeless through the power of song. Made up of persons currently experiencing homelessness as well as those who care, StreetSong MN educates and uplifts through community singing and sharing messages of inspiration through music. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, StreetSong is on hiatus. It will resume again when it is safe to sing together.
- Congregational Engagement: Align enlists the participation of its congregational constituents in addressing and combatting homelessness through regular advocacy campaigns, giving our interfaith and ecumenical membership opportunities to use their voice to support policies or reforms that will create more affordable housing, undo housing injustice, and improve services for persons experiencing homelessness. Congregants engage in goods drives, providing the unsheltered and the sheltered with much needed items, such as this fall's "Bear the Burden Backpack Drive," or "Warm Their Hearts Winter-wear Drive," with drop-off sites at local churches.
Your generous donation to Align Mpls today can help us bring
together our participants and empower their work in meaningful ways.
Here are a few examples of how you can impact the
work of our SVoC members:
$25 will pay for bus tokens for one participant to attend 10 weekly Street Voices of Change meetings
$50 will help 2 participants attend 10 weekly SVoC meetings
$100 will purchase 10 T-shirts to identify and spread camaraderie in participants of SVoC and StreetSong MN
$250 will allow us to purchase a Chromebook for one SVoC participant to make their work more impactful and give them the tool they need to do this important work.
By educating people and advocating against housing injustice, we can together find solutions to keep people in their homes and build agency for our community’s most vulnerable.
Please support Align’s unique work through a financial gift on Give to the Max Day 2020!