Representative Sandra Blake, along with Housing Board Members Pam Eagle, Bonnie Matrious, Reine Garbow, and Janice Taylor, attended the 2019 Minnesota Indian Housing Conference along with Housing Department staff at Prairie Island on August 21, 22, and 23.
Rep. Blake said the conference included a host of topics, which were all interesting and of importance to the Band.
"Urban homelessness among our Band members in Minneapolis and St Paul is of great concern to me, and I want to be able to help to come up with solutions to solving or curbing the issue," said Rep. Blake. "One of the things that I was able to be a part of in the past Band Assembly was a huge donation to the building of the new Mino Oski Ain Dah Yung homeless shelter.
The shelter, which will house homeless youth ages 18 to 22, is now coming to fruition and should be opening sometime in the fall. "I would like to continue to work with Ain Dah Yung and see if there is a way for us as a Band to sponsor some of these beds to go toward our homeless youth in the Urban area."
Another area of interest was transitional housing for Band members in recovery. "People may complain about certain topics within housing, and I may agree on some issues that we need to focus on, but not everything is wrong, and no department is perfect," Rep. Blake said. "One area that I am proud of, and our employees are doing a great job with, is the agreement between Wraparound and Transitional Housing. This will allow Band members in recovery to have housing and the assistance of case management to help with services to get on their feet."
Another showcase topic close to Rep. Blake's heart is Elder Housing. "I'm thankful for the importance Elders are held to in our Band," she said. "I still feel there could be improvement, with more memorandums of agreement between departments to bring services together. I would like there to be an Elder Advocate visiting all Elder homes to ensure they are safe and happy and not living in an abusive environment."