In the tapestry of a society, critical threads are 
that every member has a place to call home, 
access to sufficient food, opportunities for 
education and work, strong relationships, and 
good health. You pull any of those threads too 
tightly, and there is a snag. You get several snags 
and the entire fabric buckles. In the following 
pages, we go deeper with two of the issues that are 
impacting the health of community: affordable 
housing and mental health. We look at how those 
threads are snagged, and hear from women who 
are part of the solutions.

In December 2017, the Governor’s Task Force 
on Housing was announced, charged with 
recommending policies and practices to meet the 
housing needs throughout the state. According 
to the governor’s office, the number of Minnesota 
households struggling to afford quality housing 
has increased 58 percent since the year 2000, to 
more than 554,000 households. 

Many of the issues of cost, safety and housing 
stability impact female-headed households in 
metro areas, but Minnesota’s towns and rural 
areas also have housing problems. Minnesota 
Housing Partnership produced a “State of the 
State’s Housing” report, published in March 
2017, which is the source of the data in this story. 
The report revealed:

• One out of every four families pays more 
than they can afford for housing.

• More than 9,300 Minnesotans faced 
homelessness in 2015, including 3,500 children.

Half of the voting members of the Governor’s task 
force are women. Mary Tingerthal, Commissioner 
of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, says 
its mission is to “increase our understanding of 
the state’s housing supply and deliver strategies to 
preserve existing affordable homes and create the 
new housing needed.”