COMMUNITY VOICES | Home Sweet Home

This could be a story about unbridled greed. Or about making money without regard to consequences.  Perhaps, it is a tale that simply exemplifies responsible real estate investing as defined by Chris Gleize of Northern Value Group. Chris figures large as a protagonist in this drama.  But I will let you, the reader,  draw your own conclusions.  A good percentage of the information provided in this story comes from public  court documents. Other information was provided by Mr. Gleize’s attorney and the homeowner who is now subject to immediate eviction.   Nafeesah a strong, middle aged woman who has lived in single family four bedroom house since 1991 is the other major player in this unfolding narrative.  Just down the block from from Lake Street, it has stood in its present location since 1904! Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | One Minneapolis Mayoral Forum: Not sexist, not Minnesota Nice either

Recently, I had the privilege of participating in the One Minneapolis Mayoral Forum that was held at Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis. The Forum was designed to carve out a unique space in which candidates for the Minneapolis Mayoral race would be called upon to bring forth specific solutions to address the growing racial disparities in the City. Unlike traditional political forums, the One Minneapolis Forum was organized by youth workers who are routinely forced to confront the harsh realities of poverty, homelessness, and unemployment through the eyes of the young people they serve. In addition to a specific focus on socio-economic disparities, the Forum organizers sought to ensure that racial disparities would for once be front and center in a major mayoral debate, as opposed to a peripheral issue, as is often the case in such forums. For a video replay, see http://www.theuptake.org/2013/06/06/minneapolis-mayoral-candidates-address-race-issues/.The Forum was Not “Business as Usual”The Forum attracted hundreds of young voters, concerned citizens, seasoned freedom fighters, and a large number of residents from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. The energy in the overflowing auditorium was electrifying and signaled the desire for an end to a “business as usual” paradigm in political forums and ushered in the possibility of a new form of citizen engagement in political arenas.The organizers of the event decided that the forum would be highly structured in some respects and free-flowing in other respects to allow for audience participation and feedback. Continue Reading

THEATER REVIEW | “There’s No Place Like Home” by zAmya Theater Project: Theater about homelessness finds a home at St. Stephen’s Human Services

Dorothy definitely isn’t in Kansas anymore. In There’s No Place Like Home, the zAmya Theater Project‘s riff on the classic tale The Wizard of Oz (“or, brothers and sisters,” as one of the actors said, “The Wiz“), Dorothy (Caroline Manheimer) and her little dog Toto (Chloe Lamberson) find themselves suddenly homeless when family and house are swept away in a flood. Dorothy is now in the same situation as all the people on the street she’d earlier been avoiding.

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Area homeless shelters swamped and worry about what’s ahead

More homeless people — particularly families — are knocking on the doors of emergency shelters in Minneapolis and elsewhere this fall than last.A continuing shortage of affordable housing tied to mortgage foreclosures and the North Minneapolis tornado is squeezing low-income persons onto the streets and into shelters, advocates for the homeless say. The Minneapolis vacancy rate for low-income housing is around 1 percent and the Hennepin County rate only somewhat better.Joblessness, a fallout of the Great Recession, remains a problem. And families and individuals who have spent down savings and other assets and have worn out couch-hopping welcomes with relatives and friends have no where left to turn but to shelters.Community Sketchbook focuses on the economic and social challenges facing communities, especially low-income communities and communities of color, and how people are trying to address them.It is made possible by support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Minneapolis Foundation, and some Minneapolis Foundation donor advisors.Community Sketchbook articles may be republished or distributed, in print or online, with credit to MinnPost and the foundations.On Monday night alone, for example, more than 1,600 men, women and children were housed in shelters run by the six organizations that contract with Hennepin County to provide for the homeless.“We’re pretty close to crisis mode right now, and I’m not a person who tends to hyperbole,’’ says Daniel Gumnit, executive director at People Serving People, a family shelter in the shadow of the Metrodome.“Last year we had an average of 350 a night. [Recently] we had a record-breaking 416. You literally now see a sea of toddlers. Continue Reading

Advocates for poor register homeless voters, worry about ID amendment

Like many Americans, Deborah Handley has had a lot on her mind lately to distract her from the upcoming elections: her joblessness, newly diagnosed diabetes, a past battle with cancer and, oh, yes, her homelessness.That’s changing. Settled a few weeks ago into an efficiency apartment at Higher Ground on the outskirts of downtown Minneapolis, the 58-year-old former waitress and bartender is working to get her life together – and that includes preparing to vote in next month’s elections.She is among hundreds of homeless and formerly homeless people across the state filling out Minnesota Voter Registration Applications so they can vote in the November election.Community Sketchbook focuses on the economic and social challenges facing communities, especially low-income communities and communities of color, and how people are trying to address them.It is made possible by support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Minneapolis Foundation, and some Minneapolis Foundation donor advisors.Community Sketchbook articles may be republished or distributed, in print or online, with credit to MinnPost and the foundations.Her issue? She’s worried about losing Social Security. “I don’t have a pension,’’ she says.Advocates for the homeless hope to bring 1,000 more voters to the election rolls this fall — not an insignificant number in a state with the recent history of a very close U.S. Senate election – as part of a statewide effort that includes smaller private shelters as well as the big players such as People Serving People, Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless.High stakesOrganizations working with the transient poor have been helping to register homeless people living in temporary housing and recently homeless voters for more than a decade. Continue Reading