JCA Organizer Aaron Berc's Testimony at the Minneapolis City Council

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On November 1st, JCA Housing Organizer Aaron Berc gave testimony to the Minneapolis City Council. His remarks are reproduced, as prepared, below.

You can also view the video of his testimony here.

It’s been a tough week for my community, I want to remember the community elders we lost in Pittsburg at Tree of Life Congregation - may their memory be a blessing.

In times like these, I find solace in the stories we tell about our ancestors.  This week's Torah portion we meet our Matriarch Rebekah. The story begins as Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac in Abraham’s homeland.  There the servant meets the gracious and generous Rebekah, who offers her new guest a place in her home & water for them & their camels, until they’ve had their fill.

The 2019 budget is yet another chance for the city of Minneapolis to follow the lead of the strong women before us, to make sure every worker is accommodated.

JCA is encouraged by the vision set out by the Mayor with respect to funding housing initiatives in 2019, and fully supports such an investment in making sure our communities can find & maintain dignified & affordable housing

For years the City has chosen to fund policing at drastically higher levels compared to housing and continues to increase the police budget towards nearly $185 mm.  We are glad to see the gap begin to close, and believe that ensuring true public safety requires us to resource housing in the same way we resource policing today.

As a member of the Make Homes Happen Coalition, our collective demand is a dedicated revenue stream that does not depend on the whims of a yearly budget cycle, funded at $50 mm each year.  The 1000 households of JCA’s membership look forward to working with you to make that demand policy

Our members know the robust investment we are making in our community will have the greatest impact if we target the greatest needs:  Making sure we expand & enforce tenant protections, preserve deeply affordable housing as both dignified & affordable, and make sure the new housing we build is both affordable & accessible to those who need it most, targeting 30% AMI and below.

Our membership spans homeowners from Lind Bohanan to Linden Hills & renters from Powderhorn to Como. We all agree our current investment in housing is woefully inadequate.  We believe this budget proposal is a step forward and should be passed. Meanwhile, we commit to walking with you towards a Minneapolis Rebekah would be proud of, where doors are closed to no one.

Isaiah Breen

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