MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Affordable housing remains a critical issue, which continues to pose a threat to the growing homeless population in the state of Minnesota.
In a 2018 Minnesota Study of 4,279 interviews with those who met a federal definition of homelessness, Wilder Research found that more of the homeless population lives outside of shelters rather than in.
"In the last three years. homelessness needs and demands have increased by about 10 percent, there is hundreds, probably thousands of those homeless needs just in the Mankato area alone," Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership CEO Chad Adams.
Inside the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Mankato, speakers discussed the need for more safe and affordable housing options.
The conversation is ahead of Homeless Day on the Hill at the State Capitol, where hundreds of community members convene for a day of advocacy meeting with lawmakers, attending committee hearings and more.
"There is rally and then we go speak with legislatures to support the homes for all ask, which is legislative funding in lots of different categories, not just emergency shelters, but also supporting affordable housing and lots of other initiatives," said CEO of Partners for Affordable Housing, Jen Thenman.
Theneman and Adams say community involvement is key to help the homeless population's voices be heard.
"I will be going as well as social work interns, community folks, as well lived experience when they can share their stories it's much more impactful to legislators, " Thenman.
"Homelessness is really a community wide issue. Those individuals that are going, just try to reach out and provide more support, collaborate with other nonprofits in the area, the more voices you can get the more powerful opportunities we will have for change," said Adams.