Minneapolis and St. Paul mayor’s campaign fables do not end Veterans Homelessness in 2015

Oh...you don't want to give any black agencies state funds to end veterans homelessness. Mmm, 2016, all eyes on you!

Oh…you don’t want to give any black agencies state funds to end veterans homelessness. Mmm, 2016, all eyes on you! (photo: Don Allen, Founder-OBN)

If you ever needed a real-time example of a worthless campaign commitment, then all you have to do is read the City of Minneapolis website news (January 31, 2014); then in 2016, travel to almost any freeway on/off ramp and read the signs, “Homeless Veteran, please help. God Bless.”

By Don Allen, Publisher (Veteran)

The 2014 headline reads, “Saint Paul and Minneapolis commit to end veteran homelessness by 2015.” Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and State Director to Prevent and End Homelessness Cathy ten Broeke, announced they are partnering together to finish the job of ending veteran homelessness in Minneapolis and Saint Paul by 2015. The cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are partnering together in a challenge with Columbus, Ohio and Des Moines, Iowa to end veteran homelessness. The challenge will run until January 2015.

Unfortunately, the men and women, no matter their conditions have become a game for these politicians and state agency hacks. According to the article, the Twin Cities has roughly 200 veterans who struggle to find a permanent place to live (approximately 350 statewide), with 15 percent sleeping in Saint Paul’s Dorothy Day Center. However, these numbers are only estimates and OBN alleges they are far from fact. We allege there are more homeless veterans than ever in 2016.

Minneapolis mayor Betsy “Equity” Hodges cited, “Minneapolis and Saint Paul should be cities where every person can thrive; all people, especially our veterans, deserve a home. I am proud to be partnering with Saint Paul in taking on this challenge. We have made significant progress over recent years through our joint work with Hennepin County, but there is still much to do. Ending veteran homelessness is the work of the entire community.”

In several meetings with New Perspectives Housing Alliance, and it’s founder John Wood, Don Allen and Eric I. Grumdahl, Special Advisor on Ending Veteran Homelessness in Minnesota, and a representative from the once known Council on Black Minnesotans, a plea for the state veterans affairs to designate funds to minority-ethnic organizations including the Minneapolis Urban League fell of deaf ears; a large majority of the Twin Cities homeless veterans are black, Native American men and women.

The state has already distributed $100 million, according to local sources to non-culturally competent agencies while dismissing the need for a black agency to handle the mental health and homelessness issues of black Minnesotans.

Like MNSure, the Minnesota Office to Prevent and End Homelessness has run out of ideas but does not want any participation from any agency a shade darker than khaki. The State Director of the MOPEH was to coordinate all partners around this goal and, collectively, they will target any remaining homeless veterans with the tools they need to end their homelessness. However, the importance of housing and culturally competent service providers working directly with all veterans, including minority-ethic veterans should have been critical in identifying remaining barriers and gaps to success.

Now there remain homeless veterans in Minnesota and a $2 billion surplus; of course if there was ever such a thing as Minnesota nice, Black and Native American veterans never become part of the solving equation.

The mayor’s of Minneapolis and St. Paul broke their promise.


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