Neighborhood organizations under fire


City Council, Mayor, Will Decide Future of Crucial Neighborhood Funding

The Corcoran Neighborhood Organization (CNO) is partially funded by the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP). The NRP is in danger of being cut or significantly changed by the City of Minneapolis, very soon. CNO has accomplished many great things through the NRP, and we need your support to ensure that programs like those listed below can continue. NRP funding is the backbone of our organization and provides the framework for all that we do. In the last five years, CNO has raised an additional $1.50 for every dollar of NRP money spent. In 2008, we plan to do even better and anticipate raising an additional $4.50 for every dollar of NRP money. Please call Council Member Gary Schiff (612-6732209) and Mayor R.T. Rybak (612-673-2100) and urge them to fully fund NRP Phase II through 2009, as originally agreed upon, to fund the NRP and neighborhood organizations beyond 2009, and to keep decision making power in the hands of residents and out of the hands of City Hall.

The following is a snapshot of what CNO has accomplished with NRP funding since Corcoran’s Phase I Action Plan was approved in 1997:

• Housing Programs:

• Matching Grant program for owneroccupied properties. There were 92 grants closed in Corcoran totaling $262,089.21 worth of improvements.

• 3%, 4%, 5% and 6% Low-interest Loan program for homeowners. 47 loans where closed in Corcoran equaling $347,793.5 worth of financed improvements.

• 3% and 4% MHFA Discount Loan program for homeowners that subsidized the interest rates on loans being offered by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA). The subsidy used (CNO NRP funds) through this program equaled $3,010.00 and it leveraged $44,256.50 worth of financed home improvements.

• Deferred Loans for low-income (under $20,000/year) homeowners. 8 loans were closed totaling $41,298.00 worth of home improvements.

• Emergency Deferred Loan program for owner-occupied homes. 9 loans were closed totaling $14,935.00 worth of emergency projects.

• Emergency Grant program for owneroccupied properties. 3 grants totaling $4,209.25 worth of emergency home improvements.

• Child Care Deferred Loan program. 2 deferred loans for the fix up of neighborhood childcare locations totaling $9,720.00 worth of improvements.

• Exterior Matching Deferred loans for properties in the neighborhood that have either code violations against them or have a City of Minneapolis condition rating of 6, 7, or 8 demonstrating that they are in need of exterior improvements. CNO allocated $150,000.00 to the program and receive a grant from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency for $112,500 for the project.

• Matching Grant program for rental properties. 14 grants totaling $56,830.70 worth of improvements. Property owner dollars were leveraged equaling no less than an additional $56,830.70.

• Created the Midtown Farmers’ Market in 2003. This outdoor, seasonal market features a lively mix of locally grown produce, food vendors, artisans, craftspeople and community groups.

• Corcoran Park:

• Helped fund and promote a state of the art computer lab at the park.

• Matched funds provided by the Minneapolis Park Board to provide a summer staff position to supervise outdoor activities.

• Provided funding for uniforms and art supplies. o Helped plan and promote community festivals and movies in the park.

• Contributed $2,000 for a security system and surveillance cameras.

• CNO staff raised $865,759 in the last five years from non-NRP sources through grant writing and other fundraising strategies. NRP funding ensures that CNO is able to hire professional staff that is able to raise additional funding which benfits our community.

• Published the Corcoran Neighborhood News since 1985 and started an electronic newsletter in 2005 to keep residents informed.

• Founded Latinos en Acción, an organizing project that focuses on the needs of Latino residents, and created a soccer league for 70 kids, engaged dozens of parents, and convened over 400 at National Night Out Celebrción Latina.

• Funded six community murals that were painted by area artists and residents in high graffiti areas like South High, Lake Street, and Cedar Avenue.

• Contributed $200,000 to the construction of the Midtown YWCA on Lake Street.

• Developed the CNO Problem Properties Caucus. This group has worked to combat and minimize all types of chronic housing behavioral (crime) issues at both owneroccupied and absentee-owned properties.

• Participated in the planning and execution of the South Minneapolis Housing Fair, which is entering its 14th year. This is a neighborhooddriven effort to encourage residents in south Minneapolis to continue investing in their homes.

• Coordinated the Teen Job & Opportunity Fair: This multi-neighborhood collaboration was started in Corcoran by a member of the Youth & Families Committee in 1984. The event brings together over 1000 youth and their families to meet with 40 different employers and organizations offering jobs and volunteer opportunities and focuses on building job skills.

• Organize Green Sweep, formerly called Clean Sweep, every year. Volunteers from the neighborhood help dispose of unwanted items for their neighbors. This is one of our biggest events, drawing 30 to 50 volunteers, food donations, and participants from all over the Corcoran neighborhood.

• Provide staff assistance to block clubs in planning events for National Night Out and throughout the year.

• Closed Sauna at Cedar & Lake: Residents from the community and representatives from CNO worked together to effectively and permanently close down the former sauna (prostitution business) on the corner of Cedar & Lake.

• Funded Southside Prostitution Task Force, an organization that fought prostitution on the streets through a public awareness campaign in addition to regular patrols of prostitutioninfested areas.

• Created the Corcoran Solutions Document, a document about prostitution and how the community could work together to address the issues. The result has been a stronger partnership with police, including a philosophy shift leading to more arrests of the men (the demand side of the equation), legislation directed at prostitution issues, and the closure of several “saunas” or prostitution businesses.

• Founded Women W.I.S.D.O.M, an empowerment group for women in and coming out of prostitution.

• Provided home security grants to residents for installation of home security improvements including lighting, doors, garage security, glass block windows, window locks and other items.

• Partnered with Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association on the Midtown Community Restorative Justice project, a program that empowers community residents to have a hands-on experience in affecting the outcome of crimes being charged in the neighborhood.

• Hired off-duty police officers through the 3rd Precinct Police Buy-Back program to do bike patrols in the neighborhood from 1997-2000.

• Distributed Welcome packets to new residents. • Implemented the Business Fix and Paint Program with the MCDA. It was designed as a matching grant program to improve the physical appearance of businesses within the neighborhood and along Cedar Ave. Fifteen businesses improved their exterior facades through the program. $83,996 of NRP money has gone into this program which has leveraged at least an additional $90,000 of improvements.

• Purchased and rehabbed an office space in 2000 for $264,000. The neighborhood worked with NRP to become the first neighborhood organization to own their office space. The neighborhood wanted to ensure that it would have a place for the community to host meetings, conduct business, get information and socialize for years to come.