February E-News

February 2021 E-News

Celebrate Black History Month

February 1st marks the kick-off of Black History Month. In light of the onslaught of recent tragedies, from the Capitol insurrection to the murder of George Floyd, there is no better time to reflect on the lessons of the summer uprising and take bolder action to confront white supremacy and anti-Blackness in our neighborhood.  

At EPNI, our approach to this essential work is constantly evolving. We will continue to stand in solidarity with our Black neighbors in the movement to advance tenant rights, prevent displacement, improve access to healthy and affordable food, and build a neighborhood where every resident feels safe.  

We encourage all of our neighbors to celebrate Black History Month by participating in virtual events, supporting Black-owned businesses, reading Black literature, and donating to Black-led social justice organizations.  
 
Upcoming BHM Events: 
Understanding the State Budget & How it Can Further Racial Equity | Pollen - Pollen (pollenmidwest.org) 
February is Black History Month | Hennepin County (hclib.org) 
 
Black-owned businesses: 
Where to Support Black-Owned Businesses in the Twin Cities - Mpls.St.Paul Magazine (mspmag.com) 
 
Black literature: 
Home | Black Garnet Books 
HCLIB Black History Month 2021 Curated List 


EPNI Calendar for February!

Monday, February 1st - Community Safety Committee: 6-7PM • via Zoom
Join us for the Community Safety Committee meeting!  This month, we will be discussing the safety issues and suggested solutions raised at the December meeting and working on advancing some of the recommendations.  We look forward to your participation at our next meeting and encourage you to spread the word.  If you can’t join us yet wish to help us improve community safety in Elliot Park, please email us at [email protected]

- Register in advance for this Community Safety Meeting

Monday, February 8th - Board of Directors Meeting: 6-7:30PM • via Zoom
The EPNI Board of Directors meetings monthly, on the 2nd Monday of the month, at 6 PM.  Guests are welcome to attend and observe.  If you would like to attend, please email 
[email protected] and request the Zoom meeting link.

Thursday, February 18th - Building, Land Use, and Housing (BLUH) Meeting: 6-7:30PM • via Zoom
Join your neighbors in advocating for development that fits our community needs.  EPNI convenes the community at the Building, Land Use, and Housing (BLUH) meeting, where residents can review & give feedback on proposed changes to the neighborhood.  Tentative agenda includes MnDOT Landscaping Project & House of Charity/St. Stephens remodeling project at 510 S 8th Street.

- Register in advance for the BLUH Meeting



Please join us in welcoming Ellie to EPNI!

Ellie Benson joined us at EPNI this January as a Tenant Organizer through HOME Line’s Affordable Housing Preservation VISTA Project. After developing a passion for housing justice in her previous role within the philanthropic sector, Ellie looks forward to strengthening connections within Elliot Park’s renter community to build movement power and safeguard tenant rights.


Missed the BLUH meeting? We've got you covered!

 

PROPOSED CONVERSION OF 700 10th AVE SOUTH

Barb Jeanetta, Alliance Housing (AH), presented information on the proposed conversion at 700 10th Avenue South.  Excelen, a medical company, currently owns the property. They lease part of the building to HCMC, who will vacate in late December 2021. Excelen’s board concluded that the market for commercial leasing was soft, so they identified AH as a partner to develop affordable housing. AH has provided housing to very low-income residents for over 30 years. AH has a purchase agreement to buy their share of the building; Excelen will retain ownership of the basement level.  

700 10th Ave South will contain 55 studio and one-bedroom apartments. These units will house 48 individuals and small households who have experienced homelessness along with seven current AH sleeping room tenants. Rents will be affordable to residents earning $10 to $15 an hour with additional government subsidies available for residents with very low or fixed incomes. Studios will range from 400-450 square feet; one-bedrooms will range from 500-550 square feet. Property Solutions and Services will provide on-site property management services. 

So far, AH has raised $1.75 million to fund this project: $1 million from Federal Home Loan Bank and $750,000 from Hennepin County. They are currently applying for housing support funding and Section 8. They will likely apply for Veteran's vouchers. In addition, AH will apply for Hennepin County trust fund money, City of Minneapolis trust fund money, and Minnesota Housing infrastructure bonds.

Find the recording of the December BLUH meeting here 

Questions? Contact [email protected] or call the EPNI office at 612-335-5846.


EPNI HOSTS NEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY MEETINGS

The inspirational poem “The Hill We Climb” delivered by Amanda Gordon at the presidential inauguration was not only beautiful and timely, but its message can also be directly applied to our lives here in Elliot Park. Have we not ourselves wondered at some point in the past year, “where can we find light in this never-ending shade?”  

The underlying theme of this literary gem is that we all need to recognize and respect our differences, reckon with the injustices that mar our shared history, and work collaboratively to overcome the present challenges facing our society. This theme should always guide us as we all continually strive to make a better neighborhood together, where community safety is grounded in collective care and visionary thinking.  

In that spirit, the EPNI Community Safety Committee seeks your active involvement as we begin to identify and put into motion volunteer-based initiatives that we can accomplish together as a neighborhood. Our next Zoom meeting is on Monday, February 1st at 6:00 PM (please pre-register here). The February 1st agenda builds upon our previous meeting spent collaboratively brainstorming safety issues and possible solutions.  

The Community Safety Committee intends to strengthen neighborhood relationships while complementing our city-based services that have become strained and inconsistent over the last year.  We will seek recommendations to pursue up to three projects, possibly including but not limited to neighborhood watches, block clubs, a Facebook safety group, local crime data collection, and more routine litter and graffiti removal. Projects must have sufficient committed volunteers to be seriously considered. The Committee may consider other projects at a later date based on the outcomes of initial projects.     

Meanwhile, EPNI has created a designated email for safety issues: [email protected]. We encourage you to contact us with ongoing safety concerns and to alert us after placing any safety-related 311 or 911 calls. WE ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR 311 OR 911. Make that call first—we do not forward messages received. When contacting us, please provide your name, location of issue, and any pertinent details or suggestions you wish to relay, and always in a respectful manner. Our safety email also serves as a crime data collection tool, so please share incident reports with us, including the location, time, date, and a brief description. 

To learn more about community safety & precautionary suggestions please visit our Public Safety Webpage.


Good Grocer, Volunteer-powered Grocery Store

The EPNI Food Solutions team learned about "Good Grocer" in 2018 as part of their exploration of market models that may work to bring to the Elliot Park neighborhood.  Unfortunately, the store was displaced due to the 35W expansion.  However, the store is now opening in a new location in the heart of Eat Street in South Minneapolis.  The new grocery store will be about 9,000 square feet, double the size of the former store. With the added space, Good Grocer was able to double the number of products it offers with 8,000 natural and fresh items including a large section of organic produce, artisan cheese, fresh seafood and meat.

You may wonder what sets this grocery store apart from others? At the Good Grocer staff is 90% volunteers which helps provide quality food at reduced prices.  Those who volunteer 2.5 hours a month get a 20% discount on food.  So far, Good Grocer has recruited about 400 volunteers, with a goal of adding several hundred more!

Click to learn more about the Good Grocer and/or plan a visit to see the shop for yourself!

Interested in what our Food Solutions Team is up to?  Check out elliotpark.org/food


FREE COVID-19 tests and flu shots, let's all do our part to help stop the spread.
All are welcome.


Home testing
Minnesota and Vault Medical Services have teamed up to offer at-home saliva testing for everyone at no cost. Go to Vault: No-Cost COVID Testing For All Minnesotans to order a test.

Testing is encouraged and available to everyone, whether or not they have symptoms. Testing is one of the best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 and help prevent exposing your loved ones to the virus. The COVID-19 test is FREE, and you do not need insurance for the test. If you need medical care but don’t have health insurance, the Minnesota Department of Health offers resources to find low-cost health care or health insurance.

HCMC Downtown Viral Screening Clinic 900 South 8th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55415

Weekday hours: 8 am – 4:30 pm
Weekend hours: Closed

Adult and pediatric patients will be seen in order of arrival (by adult and pediatric teams respectively) until we reach capacity. Generally, we can see pediatric patients and anyone who has already completed an e-visit or has a COVID order placed until closing time. If you do not already have a COVID order and are ill and need to see a doctor, you will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis until the clinic has reached capacity for the day. The time in the map below reflects current wait times and access to the Viral Screening Clinic based on the most recent demand and can change quickly.

Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave S, Exhibit Room E | Entrance on west side of building located off 1st Ave. Find FREE curbside parking on 1st Avenue South

Weekday hours: 9 am – 7 pm
Weekend hours: 10 am – 4 pm
Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome: Make an appointment here

Please note: 
1. Do NOT eat, drink, smoke or chew gum 30 minutes prior to testing
2. Bring Smartphone (if you don't have a Smartphone, one will be provided)
3. If you have health insurance, please bring your insurance card with you.

Find information and instructions from the State + the full current list of free COVID-19 tests and flu shots

Additional FREE COVID-19 test sites in Minneapolis: 

 Native American Community Clinic, 1213 E. Franklin Ave. 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays Appointments required: Call 612-872-8086 to schedule an appointment.

 Somali Community Resettlement Services, 4020 Minnehaha Ave. S. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays starting Dec. 14 Saliva test. No appointment needed. Somali interpreters available onsite.

 Southside Community Health Services, 324 E. 35th St. 2-3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays Appointments required: Call 612-821-3548 to schedule an appointment. You can expect to get your test results in about two-three business days. Same day testing can be done for health care workers, first responders and essential workers.


MN Eviction Moratorium Updates

On his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to extend the federal eviction moratorium through March 2021. The executive order also extends the ban on foreclosures for mortgages backed by the USDA, VA, and HUD and allows homeowners to apply for mortgage forbearance if necessary. While the CDC suspension is less relevant in states like Minnesota with stronger renter protections, the federal suspension currently outlasts Minnesota’s statewide moratorium, which is set to expire on February 12th.


For additional information and resources regarding COVID-19 and eviction suspension in Minnesota, please visit HOME Line’s website.


Property Tax Refunds for Renters and Homeowners

With tax season upon us, make sure to apply for a Renter’s Property Tax Refund or Homeowner’s Homestead Credit Refund. If you are a renter household that resides in Minnesota and earned less than $62,960 in 2020, you may be eligible. Homeowner households may be eligible if they earned less than $116,180 or saw a significant increase in property taxes. Please review the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s full eligibility guidelines and instructions for renters and homeowners.


Earned less than $35,000? Make an appointment with local nonprofit Prepare + Prosper for free tax prep. Prefer DIY? IRS Free File may be a good option. 


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