Renters belong in our communities. Recent votes authorizing rent stabilization in St. Paul and Minneapolis demonstrate that we don't want renters driven out because of spiking costs.
Now we must pass universal rent vouchers to ensure that people can afford their rent in the first place. It's time for our elected officials to pass Bring It Home, Minnesota.
As a resident and minister in Minneapolis, I was pleased to join my neighbors in voting for rent stabilization. Home is the foundation of so much in our lives, and families should be protected from unexpected spikes in rent. Through powerful organizing based on one-on-one conversations, we came together to affirm our vision for our city as one where renters matter and the system works for all of us.
The City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey need to move quickly and thoughtfully to enact strong rent stabilization that reflects this vision.
Rent stabilization also is a piece of the bigger conversation about what it means to be a state and a society where people can actually afford to live. Without the stability of affordable homes, our education, health, employment, civic engagement, food security, ability to provide for aging parents or young children, and everything else we value and depend upon is on shaky ground.
Renters in every Minnesota county are struggling to keep a roof overhead. This crisis is urgent, growing, and wounding to people's lives and the strength of our community.
The good news is that we know how to change this. Rent vouchers help people with lower incomes find and stay in a home. Having a voucher means a family doesn't have to pay more than 30% of its income toward rent. It keeps rent affordable so that budgets can stretch further. Families can start saving for a house, college, or a rainy-day fund. Kids can get clothes that fit and food that's healthy. Seniors can afford life-saving medications. Rent vouchers let people stay in the communities they love.
I believe that heaven is not a solitude: It's a city. In the final (metaphorical) vision in our Christian holy book, people are not swept away. They are brought together. And those who have left come back. The gate is always open. All are welcome. Tears are wiped away. And the presence of God permeates the entire city. It's a vision of hope — and of home.
Legislators and the administration of Gov. Tim Walz must come together to pass Bring It Home, Minnesota. It's time to demonstrate that renters really do belong in our communities. It's time to be visionary, hopeful and just.
The Rev. Sarah Campbell is team lead minister at Mayflower Community Congregational United Church of Christ in Minneapolis.