Happy New Year! My heart is with you as we all continue to make it work in the pandemic. I’m looking to 2021 with determination to recover and rebuild.
COVID has demonstrated even more clearly the deep inequalities that exist in our community and across the globe. In Midway, those impacts are further exacerbated by damage left from last summer’s unrest and it’s been heartening to see so many neighbors and community leaders partner with city staff to keep families, restaurants, breweries, beauty shops, coffee shops, and other neighborhood businesses afloat.
Our office is proud to support efforts like the Midway Investment Co-Op led by Hamline Midway Coalition and CEZ; Midway United Fund’s early-stage efforts with HMC and Union Park District Council; We Love Midway relief fund and more. These efforts combined will help community invest in property, build community wealth, and shape the future of our neighborhood, and 2021 will be all about advancing that.
Another focus for our office has been supporting those experiencing homelessness. Thanks to strong partnership from Ramsey County and some recently added resources from the state, we now have all the beds we need to ensure everyone experiencing homelesses in St Paul can have a safe place to sleep indoors. But helping folks in these encampments at Hamline Park, near 94 and Snelling, Iris Park, and across the city find the right indoor space for them takes careful and intentional work.
City staff and county outreach workers – and a tremendous amount of neighbors investing their own personal time and resources – are working with folks every day to help. Trying to stand up immediate shelter and housing options is absolutely necessary and yet, at the same time, it does not solve the long-term challenges in our housing system that have created these challenges in the first place. While the city of St. Paul is working very hard with Ramsey County to address the gaps, we must do more and we can’t do it alone.
Finally, I’m proud to be serving on a new mayoral commission to continue our work on community first public safety. The scope of the commission’s work will be to examine a large swath of our 911 calls and what alternative strategies and personnel could be used to respond to them. In other cities, a tremendous amount of cost of and demand for traditional police officers has been relieved by developing alternative response teams to handle substance abuse, mental health challenges, and other scenarios where social work and support are equally, if not more, fitting responses than men with guns on their hip. I appreciate Mayor Carter’s leadership and partnership in shaping this commission and look forward to these recommendations informing our budget conversations next year.
Thank you for all the work you’ve all done to support one another through this difficult time. As always, if there is anything our team can do to help you, please reach out to us (firstname.lastname@example.org)!