Testimony in Support of Emergency Services Grant Funding
HHS Conference Committee, S.F. 4110
May 12, 2022
Dear Chair Abeler, Chair Liebling, and Members of the Health and Human Services Conference Committee,
The Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice for the Catholic Church in Minnesota, writes to highlight the supplemental appropriations for Emergency Services Grants (ESG) in the House version of the Omnibus health and human services bill (S.F. 4410) and ask that the funding be included in the final Conference Committee Report.
Emergency Services Grants help shelters, nonprofits, and charitable organizations find creative ways to combat homelessness, especially chronic homelessness. Despite many charities living out this corporal work of mercy, the need continues to grow.
In many instances, those who suffer from chronic homelessness and are served by shelters are not there simply because they cannot find affordable housing or lack the money, but because there is often a nexus with substance abuse, mental health, and a lack of connection with friends or family, not to mention stable employment. Emergency Services Grants help those who provide shelter to the homeless, such as Catholic Charities, navigate the people they serve to employment counseling, mental health services, medical and psychological help, and long-term housing.
Leaving people out on the street and turning a blind eye to the root causes of homelessness is unconscionable given Minnesota’s current budget surplus. MCC supports a supplemental appropriation for ESG of $35,000,000 in fiscal year 2023 and a new base appropriation of $19,283,000 for each of the following two fiscal years. Increased and stable state funding for ESG will help shelter providers offer a safety net for the most vulnerable in our communities—many of whom are individuals with disabilities or complex medical conditions, as well as a growing number of seniors.
We urge you to please keep this critical investment in mind and include it in the legislation you send to the Governor.
Ryan E. Hamilton, Government Relations Associate