Tuesday, January 6, 2009

JOHNNY NORTHSIDE EXCLUSIVE: New "Minneapolis Advantage" Grants To Be Announced TOMORROW

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Word comes from a source about what will be announced at tomorrow's Mayoral press conference. You read it here FIRST on Johnny Northside Dot Com...

Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 7, at 10:45 A.M., at Mayor Rybak's office there will be an announcement regarding Minneapolis Advantage Grants, round two.

Brian Reichow, who I have blogged about before as a "model citizen" advantage grant recipient, click here, plans to be at the press conference.

Here's the big scoop: Rumor has it there will be 150 grants this time instead of the mere 50 grants handed out during the pilot program. No word on changes in eligibility requirements or the amount of the grants.

The most extensive television coverage will likely take place on CHANNEL 5, since Channel 5 has apparently arranged an in-person interview of one of the recipients. MPR is also likely to have coverage in the next few days.

This is wonderful news. North Minneapolis is being revitalized in leaps and bounds. Now is the time to buy, buy, buy.

Well...OK, before you buy, buy, buy it might be good to apply for one of those Minneapolis Advantage Grants!


Ranty said...

I think you need to have a purchase agreement in order to apply for this grant. Thus I have been telling people to consider it a bonus rather than have their purchase dependent on it.

That said, it's still a FABULOUS opportunity for owner-occupants!

Anonymous said...

How do you get an aplication? The city still has no info on it's web page

Johnny Northside said...

To Ranty: You're probably right.

To Anonymous: I don't have the answer to that, but I guess I would suggest calling 311 and/or sending an email to your city council person. But I think the program won't be fully up and running until (what is it?) March? This was the ANNOUNCEMENT.

But I suggest you stay on top of it. The last round of Minneapolis Advantage grants went FAST.

Also, here's some inside info which belongs in a post, not a comment thread, but I'll get the info out ASAP: Tonight, the Hawthorne Housing Committee passed something we call the "Hawthorne Advantage" program. This will be MORE MONEY for qualified home buyers.

Now, this program still has to get passed by the Executive Committee...it still has to get implemented in the next month or so.

But something is definitely in the pipeline right now in the HAWTHORNE neighborhood. So tell your real estate agent (like my friend Jeanie Hoholik, who was at the meeting tonight, staying on top of the details) to be sure you get a chance to see houses in neighborhoods with these programs, neighborhoods like HAWTHORNE.

Yes, other neighborhoods have these programs, too. But Hawthorne has the same programs, or will in the very, VERY near future as this program gets tweaked and finalized.

Johnny Northside said...

Addendum: That should be "Hawthorne Board" not the "Executive Board." They're the ones who have to approve this new "Hawthorne Advantage" program. Sorry. Hard to keep track. The Housing Director is ten feet from me right now, watching episodes of "Lost" on his laptop, and he corrected me...

Johnny Northside said...

OK, here is a link with more info about the Minneapolis Advantage Program.


Anonymous said...

hey Johnny,
I am a rural wisconsin resident with no visible comnnection to the north side. what doesn't show ids that I am a youth work/social worker who has become completely repulsed with what homelessness does to families and what famly-less-ness does to homes. I am also fundamentally allegic to economic injustice. and I should mention that the words " great idea, but that's impossible" are like waving a red cape in front of a bull for me.
all of this to say, I have been working on morgage foreclosure prevention (and will continue) but I have an idea for "homesteading" abandon houses in hawthorn. I would love to discuss it with you.
interested? tc largaespada

Johnny Northside said...

I'm always interested in a substantive discussion about Hawthorne. Feel free to email me at hoffx106@umn.edu.

However, I'll say this: you're not the first person to say, hey, homeless families in Minnesota...empty, hard-to-sell houses in Hawthorne...let's put all the homeless in those houses!

But do you think this is what our neighborhood WANTS? This is where WE LIVE. You want to put homeless families somewhere? Take a good hard look at your basement and figure out if it can be rehabbed into living space and move a nice homeless family in. Then talk to me about what we should do in Hawthorne.

We already have PLENTY of homeless people in empty houses here in Hawthorne, and that's not working out so well. Why, just a few days ago I was looking at a house with copper pipes and I thought, good heavens, I haven't seen so much copper in North Minneapolis since I cashed in my penny jar!

This idea of moving the homeless into North Minneapolis? You don't hear that idea coming from folks in North Minneapolis. Not home owners and active neighborhood people, anyway.

Don't you have some issues to work on out there in rural Wisconsin? Youth binge-drinking out of sheer boredom, for example? Convincing everybody that Wisconsin cheese is superior to California cheese, even though California leads you in cheese production? Something? Anything except this idea of marching an army of homeless into North Minneapolis?

If there's some group I'd like to see just TAKE OVER vacant houses, it would be artists and environmentalists with some kind of stable, halfway dependable income. Maybe not a huge income, but something dependable.

tclargaespada said...

ok, let me try this again. maybe in another way.
I am a minnesota social worker. i have worked with issues of urban homeless/ youth and families in minneapolis for the past twenty years. I moved out of minneapolis 14 yrs ago because i couldn't walk the streets without runng into clients and i found i needed to be off work sometimes. when you ask if what north minneapolis needs is "homeless families" in the north side, i guess i have to ask you what you think happened to the people who used to live in those homes? I'm not talking about emptying out the prisons, treatment centers, or mental insatutions into the northside. I'm talking about WORKING poor families who can't afford daycare, morgage, and food in the same month. you know...people. if you are interested in waiting for the upper middle class to move in to the new rehabbed houses over north and bring up the "value" don't hold your breath. hey, maybe i'm wrong. it's good. maybe north will turn into the new edina. good luck with that.
i'm still interest in trying to help because the difference between you , and me, and homeless people is one paycheck away. by the way , i agree that just because your from the hood doesn't mean you get to act hood. it doesn't grant you any moral high ground either.
honestly, i'm not sure if you are sincere about trying to actually do something about over north of if this is just a forum for you to bitch about stuff. if I'm wrong about the intention of your response i'm sorry. I can tell you this, you are really wrong about my intention and my reasons for caring about the northside. Just as I think you are wrong in assuming that the "army of homeless" are not also artist, enviromentalist, writers, leaders....I guess i want to ask you who you picture when you think artist (cause that's a steady income) and who you picture when you think homeless. me thinks there's a color difference. and i would have e-mailed this message but the e-mail you used doesn't seem to real. huh? tc largaespada

Johnny Northside said...

The email works fine, unless you're mistaking the number one for an "L."

You can go straight to hell with your "me thinks there's a color difference" comment. Just because people people may disagree with your idea to concentrate poverty in North Minneapolis EVEN MORE doesn't make that person a racist. I'm sure I wouldn't have to go very far to find many people of color in North Minneapolis who don't like your "army of homeless in our neighborhood" idea very much, either.

You talk about how you couldn't stand to run into your clients all the time, but you have a brilliant idea to put all your clients in North Minneapolis where I will be the one running into them.

News flash: North Minneapolis is not your little lab for social experiments. No neighborhood council will support this idea. No, not even Jordan. Not even the breakaway "Old Majority" faction in Jordan would support the idea of "let's listen to the social worker from Wisconsin and march an army of homeless into the empty houses of our neighborhood."

Also, damn right we're going to turn this place into something better. We're turning "over North" into a place called "NOMI." No, we're not trying to become Edina. Some of us are trying to become "NOMI."

And that's what this blog is about. I just happen to think your particular idea is REALLY REALLY BAD.

As for the economic challenges faced by artists, creative people, etc: anybody who has a steady income and about $20,000 liquid, plus some fix-up skills or the ability to procure those skills can get a house in North Minneapolis...NOT EVEN CONDEMNED...and make a go of fixing it up and living there.

That doesn't include everybody, but it includes a lot of people. It includes people of modest income, if they just fall into a piece of luck: settling their relative's estate, a windfall from a lawsuit, really good saving habits, etc.

We are doing just fine selling the empty houses and knocking down the ones that need to be condemned. Take your army of homeless idea elsewhere.

1915bung said...

This has to be the best discussion I have seen on this blog! Both of you have some very relevant and thoughtful points.

The elephant in the room that separates your thought process's is "How do we provide fair and charitable opportunities for individuals of lower income without subjecting our communities to the ignorance and social problems that accompany a vast majority at that poverty level.

Many individuals regardless of race are indigent because they lack social skills and their upbringing have not given them a proper values. They rely on illegal activities to support these deviant lifestyles. It is these individuals who are not welcome in our neighborhoods.

We can not continue to warehouse and fund these lifestyles in our communities; nor can we continue to tear the fabric of our neighborhoods apart by demolishing homes to get rid of them.

This has nothing to do with being poor or homeless. The vast majority of poor and homeless get painted with that brush because we have no mechanisms in place to differentiate them.

It doesn't make any sense to spend millions of dollars to force residents out of their homes, tear them down, and then fund their lifestyles somewhere else. The same $35,000 that we spend tearing these homes down could have allowed a family to maintain that home.

The proper solution involves work and training programs aimed at producing opportunities and education to repair and renovate these vacant homes while giving them new marketable skills that allow them to be self sustaining owner occupants.

At the same time we have to vigorously enforce basic social norms based on their desire to participate it.

It is easy to have low self-esteem and low self expectations when everyone around you applies these same standards.

We need a mentoring program that ensures that families are adequately budgeting for home repair and assists them in choosing repair options.

We need a moratorium on investment property and rental licenses so that our communities will begin to rebuild an identity.

We need property inspections tied to section 8 and entitlement programs. How can a home whose rental has been funded by tax payers for years become a salvageable burden to tax payers when the landlord skips out?

This has to be done by our leaders on a City and County level with State support. Years of ignoring these problems have put us into this situation and I am afraid that our current community leaders don't have the fortitude to make these changes.

Instead, we will continue to ignore the true problems and dump money into the urban renewal of the Minneapolis area while the problems take flight to the suburbs as they are now.