Board Member Spotlight: Council Member Rebecca Noecker
Tell us about your background and why you care about expanding housing opportunities.
I grew up in a family and a faith tradition that taught me the principle of tikkun olam – that the world is broken and that it’s our job to fix it. My early work experiences as a teacher and non-profit program manager in Baton Rouge, India and Uganda all showed me different faces of inequality and the powerful role of government and the nonprofit sector in building a more just society. I have always been lucky enough to have a home and the security and stability that come along with it – and I want that for everyone in our community.
Why were you interested in serving on the Family Housing Fund board?
I want to be part of organizations that are doing meaningful work to address both the current symptoms and the fundamental roots of our housing inequity. I admire the Family Housing Fund’s thoughtful, strategic approach to this daunting problem and the way we keep one eye on the present—providing critical funding to meet immediate needs—while also building for the future, introducing the region to new ideas, piloting new programs and evaluating their outcomes. I also appreciate the organization’s experienced and engaged board. We have thought-provoking discussions at every meeting and everyone is clearly invested in the organization’s mission and its success.
What housing aspirations do you have for the region?
I want every Minnesota resident to be able to live in any city she chooses, regardless of her income. That means cities need to make physical and legal room for a variety of housing types including tiny homes, ADUs, and modular construction. I also want our region to start seeing housing as a regional issue, just like water and transit. Affordable housing goals for each city shouldn’t be words on a page – they should be real and incentivized – and each city should be expected to meet its share of our region’s needs for homeless shelters and supportive housing.
What is one area where you think people generally fail to think big enough – and what is your vision for change?
Too many people are unaware of their own power to make change. At some point in my high school career, I had what I now refer to as a “Matrix moment”. I realized, just like Neo after he takes the red pill, that the world around us is just a construct, that nothing is there by default, that human decisions are responsible for every part of the physical and moral environment we occupy – and that, as a result, human action can change everything about the world. That vision was immensely empowering for me and it drives the way I ask questions and approach new problems. Unfortunately, many people, even in positions of power, take too much of their context for granted and fail to question the basic structures they’re expected to operate within, the norms and rituals of their respective institutions, the way things have always been – so they limit their own capacity to make more than superficial change. My vision for change is that more people take the red pill!
What do you do for fun?
I love reading, biking, doing LEGOs with my two boys (Whitman, age 6, and Fitzgerald, age 5), watching the best that Netflix and Hulu have to offer with my husband, and going out with friends.