Together, we organized to Keep Saint Paul Home – and we won.
Saint Paul is now the first city in Minnesota to pass a strong rent stabilization ordinance that protects renters from predatory landlords who spike the rent and uproot families.
I’m overjoyed, imagining what this policy will mean for St. Paul. I see families staying in the community they love, surrounded by the people they love. I see kids succeeding because they get to keep going to the school that feels like home. I see families saving to become homeowners. I see people living with joy and dignity – and not worrying they’ll be pushed out of their neighborhood.
We made this happen, together. Across race and income, whether we rent or own, we defeated (by a healthy margin) a corporate landlord lobby that outraised our campaign 20 to 1. To everyone who took even a single action to make this happen: thank you. This victory was possible because of grassroots people power and incredible organizing by the Housing Equity Now Saint Paul coalition – and I’m proud we were part of it.
When my family moved to Minnesota, I thought we’d left the stress and displacement of Ethiopia behind – but I was wrong. When I was a kid, I never got to make and keep friends because every time we got settled, our landlord would jump the rent and push us out. Today, I feel relief and excitement that my nieces might not face what I did – and what so many other families in Saint Paul have faced.
Winning rent stabilization is a victory for racial justice in our city. The reality is, it’s families like mine – Black and brown families – that predatory landlords target to pad their pockets. Saint Paulites came together and said loud and clear: no matter what we look like or where we come from, we all deserve a home we can count on.
So, let’s feel the joy, celebrate, and rest. Our work isn’t over, but wow, it feels great to win. Let’s savor that and internalize how powerful we can be, together.
Jamila Mame (she/her)
Women of Color Organizer
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