ACORN organizes new chapter in Saint Paul’s North End

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Fed up with theft and vandalism, gangs and graffiti, and foreclosed homes in their neighborhood, a group of North End residents came together on Tuesday, November 11, to organize North End Neighbors United as a chapter of Minnesota ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).

One by one, residents asked for a plan of action as they told of conditions on their block including the broken windows and the theft of copper pipe from the vacant homes. Cammie Clark, community organizer for ACORN, asked Ward 5 City Councilmember Lee Helgen, “Would you be willing to investigate the status of a list of vacant homes?” Helgen said, “My goal is to work with the process.”

Clark said the newest chapter is part of ACORN’s efforts to have a presence in neighborhoods. She began knocking on doors in August. ACORN will work with the District 6 Planning Council. Connie Sisco and Rev. Wm Vadim Hillebrand were elected to co- chair the new group. The next meeting will be in December.

Mary Thoemke, a lifelong resident of Saint Paul, is a free lance writer for the Twin Cities Daily Planet. Full disclosure: My husband and I live in the North End, and participated in the meeting.