Solid Ground: 2020 November Social Action Highlight



Solid Ground and WBUUC

A nonprofit serving suburban Ramsey and Washington Counties, Solid Ground provides housing and support for homeless families. WBUUC has partnered with Solid Ground since its inception in 1990. Many, many of our members have volunteered in numerous capacities over the years, including tutoring children and adults. Our youth have supported the Birthday Box program. Many members have served on the board of directors, including chairing the board.

Homelessness in The U.S., Minnesota and the Twin Cities Region

Over the past 40 years, federal investment in affordable housing and other initiatives to decrease homelessness have failed to keep pace with the needs of the population. (1)  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) policy has moved from a focus on ending homelessness to one that manages and rations very limited resources with one-size-fits-all solutions that may not meet local needs.  Policies pit groups against groups, i.e. individuals versus families, veterans versus youth, etc. (2)  Rent and home values continue to rise while incomes decline or remain stagnant, putting a modest apartment or home ownership out of reach for increasing numbers of people. (3)  Racial disparities mean that 75% of Whites own homes compared to 39% of people of color. (4) There is a deficit of 72,395 affordable housing units for people making less than $30,000 per year in the Twin Cities alone. (5) Four of the top five in-demand jobs do not earn a median salary that is adequate to afford rent for a modest 2-bedroom apartment in any county in the Twin Cities. 17,750+ school children in Minnesota experience homelessness every year. (6) More than 1 in 4 – or 572,133 households in Minnesota- pay more than they can afford for housing, making it likely that they cut back on necessities like food, education and medicine simple to pay their rent or mortgage. (7)


Homelessness is caused by inequitable structural issues, not just by people’s personal issues

“We are all responsible for the moral and structural causes of homelessness today,” stated Sue Watlov Phillips, Executive Director of Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH)8 and current President of the National Coalition for the Homeless. She identifies the causes of homelessness to include (9):

  • Limited moral outcry to love and treat others as ourselves
  • Greed: ME and MY needs are more important than WE and the common good
  • Housing is treated as a commodity, not a basic need
  • Lack of or no enforcement of civil rights and fair housing laws
  • Minimum Wage/ Social Security / Unemployment / Public assistance are not livable incomes
  • Demolition / Loss of housing without replacement
  • Tax code 1986 drove out ma and pa landlords; complicated the housing development processes requiring sophisticated and well-funded investors to use the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
  • Systematic disinvestment in domestic spending and opportunities for people with limited resources began in the 1970’s and continues.
  • We capped domestic program spending (since the 1970’s) …and built up war and defense budget and tax breaks for the wealthiest

Solid Ground serves those close to us

Solid Ground, a local non-profit based in White Bear Lake, serves nearly 500 children and adults per year in suburban Ramsey and Washington counties. Most participants housed by Solid Ground have experienced long-term homelessness and other trauma and many have struggled with mental illness, chemical dependency and/or chronic health conditions. In addition to housing, Solid Ground works with families to build skills in budgeting, parenting, and being a good tenant, as well as supporting clients in pursuing health, employment and education goals. Solid Ground also provides enrichment activities for children to promote their social, emotional and academic growth. All in all, Solid Ground strengthens families through stable housing and effective supportive services for children and adults. Solid Ground is about dignity, accountability and community.

For more information about Solid Ground, visit the website at


1-3 National Coalition of the Homeless.
4 Minnesota Housing Partnership.
5-7 State of the State’s Housing 2019.
8 Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing.
9 Sue Watlov Phillips. (2019). Homelessness- Growing for Four Decades. Handout at MICAH meeting from Mary Bolton