Minneapolis City Council Passes Memorandum of Understanding with MPHA

Today, City Council unanimously passed a MOU, or Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Public Housing Authority(MPHA). During a listening session about the MOU hosted by Council Members Abdi Warsame and Cam Gordon on April 17, 2019, resident leaders and allies asked why a MOU that is unenforceable is being named as the city’s chief protection measures for residents. In response CM Cam Gordon said, “We are dancing with the devil.” Here is a brief breakdown of the deeply flawed MOU that all of city council signed off on.

The MOU mostly re-states federal RAD guidelines, which HUD is not already not reliably enforcing and uses language from MPHA’s Guiding Principles for Capital Redevelopment which was rejected by residents.

There is not language on how the City will enforce any of these agreements if MPHA were to violate them after the City has already given MPHA funding.

The MOU is weak and contradicts itself in numerous places. For example, it says that MPHA will remain responsible for the management and maintenance of converted (i.e. privatized) properties. But a few sentences later it says that could change (which we already know from Greg Russ’s testimony to the Board of Commissioners last summer), and the MOU only requires that residents be notified of that change.

The MOU does not require meaningful resident participation, and continues MPHA’s practice of considering resident organizations – which are controlled and manipulated by MPHA and do not represent the majority of residents – as the only residents who deserve to be involved in the planning or approval process.

The MOU does not guarantee that residents will continue to pay 30% of their income once their properties are privatized. Instead it talks about maintaining “affordability” based on metrics derived from Area Median Income (AMI), which DG&PHC has already written critically about.

The MOU does not require continued public ownership of public housing properties. It says that public ownership can be substituted for “public control,” by which they mean a non-profit created by MPHA will maintain a controlling interest in the converted property. This not only contradicts MPHA’s own documents showing that their non-profit will only have 0.01% interest in the properties (with the other 99.99% belonging to a private investor), but it also treats the non-profit as equivalent to a public entity. The non-profit will not be a public entity, and therefore would not constitute public ownership or “public control” even if it were to control 100% of the property after RAD conversion.

The MOU does not resolve concerns raised by the National Low Income Housing Coalition or the Government Accountability Office’s report on RAD commissioned by Maxine Waters having to do with the risk that foreclosure would have on any RAD contracts or agreements.

Ultimately, this MOU is weak, unenforceable, and these problems are understood by the city council that has passed it anyways, as confirmed by CM Abdi Warsame and Cam Gordon this past Wednesday. If City council cared about the preservation of public housing and protecting residents, they would not regurgitate and support the policies of Ben Carson’s HUD. It has become all too clear that the City of Minneapolis is invested in the destruction of marginalized communities and the displacement of poor people. If they weren’t they wouldn’t have signed this MOU unanimously. Call your council members and voice your disappointment.

Link to the MOU here:

Harrison Neighborhood Association (HNA) opposes the privatization of public housing and the City’s MOU

Here is a letter from Harrison Neighborhood Association (HNA) opposing the privatization of public housing and the MOU. HNA has a long and rich history in North Minneapolis. They are the first neighborhood association to break ranks with the City of Minneapolis and MPHA’s privatization plan that endorsed Trump and Carson’s housing agenda. We call on more neighborhood associations to break ranks to keep public housing public and to save our city from Trump.










New Article from Ismail Khadar on the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Dear allies:

See this article by Ismail Khadar about the Minneapolis 2040 Plan and how it will make our city more unequal and unaffordable for communities of color. This is the perspective you don’t get from the white mainstream media, who silences our voices.

The City of Minneapolis pays lip service to the problems facing POC communities, but their policies – like privatizing public housing and giving handouts to developers – will harm us and lead to displacement and homelessness.


Council Members Cam Gordon & Abdi Warsame’s one-day listening session violates City’s Core Principles of Community Engagement

Council Members Cam Gordon (Chair of the Housing Policy & Development Committee) and Abdi Warsame (Chair of the Ways & Means Committee) posted a one-day listening session regarding the MOU they will sign with MPHA that will end public housing as we know it without notifying public housing residents that will be directly impacted by this decision.

This MOU will evict thousands of residents in the coming years.

CM Gordon and CM Warsame also decided to hold this one-day session at non-public housing building.

The majority of public housing residents are seniors, people with disabilities and children who don’t have access to computers or speak English, so they have no idea about this MOU. 
According to City and MPHA’s community engagement policies and procedures, public housing residents, just like the rest of the public, are notified in writing a month prior regarding such meetings in multiple languages so they can participate.

Now public housing residents and the people of Minneapolis will not able to participate in this decision that will end public housing and change the future of Minneapolis. This decision is in line with Trump and Carson’s housing agenda.

By intentionally excluding public housing residents and refusing to hold citywide meetings at different times and locations so working families can attend, the City of Minneapolis, CM Gordon, and CM Warsame are violating the City’s Core Principles of Community Engagement. 

1. Right to be involved – Public participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.

2. Contribution will be thoughtfully considered – Public participation includes the promise that the public’s contribution will be thoughtfully considered.

3. Recognize the needs of all – Public participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognizing and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision-makers.

4. Seek out involvement – Public participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.

5.Participants design participation – Public participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.

6.Adequate information – Public participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.

7. Known effect of participation – Public participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.

Copyright IAP2. All rights reserved. Adopted by Minneapolis City Council, December 2007

Urgent Action! Contact Elected Officials to demand citywide listening sessions for “Memorandum of Understanding”

Urgent Action!

Contact the City of Minneapolis and your state representatives (see contact info in the comments) to demand that the City hold citywide listening sessions for public housing residents and the people of Minneapolis to comment on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the City wants to sign with MPHA to privatize and dismantle public housing forever!

Dear allies, demand that the City of Minneapolis do the following:

1) Hold at least 4 to 5 citywide listening sessions for public housing residents and the people of Minneapolis about the MOU. 
2) Notify every public housing resident by mail and in multiple languages about the listening session times, dates and locations. Provide at least 2 to 3 weeks notice. 
3)Hold the listening sessions from 6 to 8 pm at the Brian Coyle Community Center, Horn Towers, Glendale Townhomes, Spring Manor and the Cora McCorvey Health and Wellness Center so that public housing residents are able to attend. 
4) After the listening sessions are complete, provide a 30 day comment period. 
5) Hold a public hearing at City Hall before the vote at a time everyone can attend.

On April 11, 2019, Council Member Cam Gordon announced on Facebook and by email to a few people that he and Council Member Abdi Warsame will hold one listening session at Matthews Park on Wednesday, April 17th from 7-9 pm about the MOU the City of Minneapolis and the MPHA plan to sign regarding the financial support MPHA will receive from the City for privatizing and dismantling public housing. The City Council will then vote to approve the MOU on Friday, April 19, 2019.

Neither the City nor MPHA notified any of the thousands of public housing residents who are at risk of displacement and homelessness about this MOU. In failing to do so the City violated its own Core Principles of Community Engagement. Holding only one meeting and voting two days later to approve the MOU is unacceptable and violates any transparent democracy and governance.

The MOU and the meeting at Matthews Park are not designed to involve public housing residents or to protect public housing, but rather to convince non-public housing residents that MPHA’s privatization scheme is not what it seems. The MOU misleadingly implies that transferring ownership of public housing from MPHA to an unaccountable private non-profit and companies such as the one MPHA Executive Director Greg Russ’s family owns does not constitute privatization. It also repeats the lie that privatization is necessary when MPHA has a surplus of over $23 million and ample funding sources to keep public housing public. Furthermore, the MOU offers no meaningful protections to residents.

The MOU helps MPHA force through its plans to privatize all Minneapolis public housing through Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) and Section 18 Demolition & Disposition, against the will of residents. The City and MPHA are taking advantage of Trump’s pro-privatization agenda to gentrify Minneapolis. Trump and Carson’s HUD recently gutted resident protections for Section 18 and is failing to properly monitor the RAD program. Privatization will displace 12,000 of our city’s most vulnerable residents and rob over 40,000 people on MPHA’s waitlist of the chance to access housing they can afford.

Contact your City and State elected officials to demand citywide listening sessions for public housing residents and the people of Minneapolis to learn about this MOU. MPHA cannot interfere with this process or intimidate public housing residents. The future of our city is at stake.

Link to the contact info sheet: https://www.dgphc.org/mn-elected-officials-and-city-of-minneapolis-contact-information/

#KeepPublicHousingPublic #BuildMorePublicHousing #PHIMBY #NotoRAD#DefendElliotTwins #StopFrey #StopRuss #SayNoToGentrification#StopPrivatization #DGPHC

MN Daily Editors Remove Resident Voices after being bullied by MPHA

Minnesota Daily editors removed resident voices from Aleezeh Hasan‘s article the day after it was published because MPHA complained about resident and leaders’ voices being heard. As a result, editors intentionally reported inaccuracies to push MPHA and Minneapolis elected officials’ narrative to normalize MPHA’s privatization and displacement plan through RAD at Elliot Twins.This plan is in line with Trump and Carson’s housing agenda. The reporter Aleezah Hasan told the truth and the real experiences of residents who are facing eviction but that made MN Daily editors too uncomfortable since they are not POC and don’t want to understand what the residents are going through. They related to MPHA more than the residents. In addition, even though the editors verified that the elected officials DG&PHC invited to the meeting did not show up, the editors also removed that fact to bend to the wishes of the DFL and local politicians. This is not journalism. MN Daily consistently silences POC voice and have no integrity in our communities. 

#KeepPublicHousingPublic #BuildMorePublicHousing #NotoRAD#DefendElliotTwins #SayNoToSection18Disposition #StopFrey #StopRuss#SayNoToGentrification #StopPrivatization #DGPHC

Evidence that the Minneapolis DFL is anti-public housing

More evidence that Minneapolis DFL (Democratic Party) is anti-public housing & pro developers pushing Trump and Carson’s Housing agenda: https://www.facebook.com/mplsdfl/posts/2283005505089775?__

The Minneapolis DFL has shared a Star Tribune article promoting MPHA’s privatization agenda. MPHA, with the support of Jacob Frey & Lisa Bender, have applied to HUD’s Section 18 Demolition & Disposition program using new rules created by HUD Secretary Ben Carson that make it easier to apply to this voluntary program to privatize public housing. This has never happened in the history of Minneapolis public housing since its birth after WWII.

One of the people who liked their post sharing this article was a man named Kent Mortimer. Why does this matter?

An ally from Twin Cities Musicians Against Gentrification forwarded us this person’s information, as he is a musician in Minneapolis. But aside from being a musician, Kent Mortimer is the Director of Compliance at Thies & Talle, one of the largest owners of subsidized tax credit affordable housing properties in Minnesota. This is exactly the type of company that hopes to take over public housing if the Minneapolis DFL allows MPHA to privatize our homes.

But it goes even deeper: this company is owned by Kenneth Talle, who is the Father-in-law of MPHA Executive Director Greg Russ. Greg Russ is the man who said he wants to end public housing in Minneapolis. Greg Russ is also a Democrat who is close to Carson. Greg Russ’s wife Luara Russ is the Vice President of Asset Management at Thies & Talle. In other words, Greg Russ’s family owns Thies & Talle, whose employees are publicly expressing support for MPHA’s privatization agenda.

An anonymous public housing resident wrote a letter to us, the Star Tribune, Mayor Jacob Frey, and the Minneapolis City Council alerting the public of this massive conflict of interest last year. We will post a link about this letter in the comments below. 
When we complained about this, the DFL completely ignored us. But now we have clear evidence linking together the Minneapolis DFL, MPHA, and Greg Russ’s family company in the privatization of public housing for profit.

#KeepPublicHousingPublic #BuildMorePublicHousing #NotoRAD#SayNoToSection18Disposition #DefendElliotTwins #StopFrey #StopRuss#SayNoToGentrification #StopPrivatization #DGPHC

Minneapolis DFL has become the party of privatizing public housing

Minneapolis DFL (Democratic Party) has become the party of privatizing public housing and pushing Trump/Carson’s housing agenda.
Check out DFL Minneapolis post.

The Minneapolis Democratic Party ( DFL) decided to promote the dismantling of public housing and show their true colors by endorsing an article that is a PR campaign that promotes disposition and the demolition of over 730 single family public housing homes in Minneapolis through a HUD voluntary program called Section 18 Disposition & Demolition.

link to this post here:

For the first time in the history of public housing in Minneapolis, this plan is approved by Trump and Carson, Mayor Jacob Frey and Lisa Bender. Again this is a voluntary program that allows public housing single-family homes to be turned over to private developers and corporations through a non-profit corporation that is controlled 99.9% by private developers that are gentrifying Minneapolis and destroying Black and Brown communities. This fits perfectly into 2040 Comp. Plan by Bender and Frey. Is this why CM Abdi Warsame, Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley, and Reprsentative Hodan Hasan and Mohamud Noor decided not to show up to meet with senior and disabled residents who will be evicted from Elliot Twins and face homelessness from Nov.2019 to Jan.2020? Allies call out the DFL for supporting Developers and Trump Carson’s housing agenda. They should not get away with this.