On the West Side, we look out for each other. That’s why, when COVID hit, we immediately organized a fund to support West Siders most impacted by the pandemic and the resulting economic fallout. Thanks to neighbors and foundation partners, we raised $38,000 that we distributed to 90 renter families. Many of these families are led by women of color; work in industries hardest hit by the pandemic such as house cleaning, restaurants, or construction; and are undocomented or otherwise do not have access to state or federal funds.
Together, we showed up to ensure our neighbors had a roof over their heads in the midst of a pandemic. This kind of swift organizing is exactly what makes us #WestSideStrong. We’re grateful to everyone who donated to the Solidarity Fund, and to the dedicated volunteers and staff that connected renters to resources. Read a recent story highlighting our work in the Star Tribune.
Our work isn’t over.
High rents, economic inequality, and a history of racist housing policies threatened the stability of West Siders even before the pandemic hit. Now, COVID-19 is pushing families to the brink. At WSCO, we’ve talked to too many families who couldn’t pay rent in March, April, and beyond. And while work sites are slowly re-opening (despite persistent COVID risk in our communities), families are still struggling to make ends meet. Some parts of the West Side face an approximately 22% unemployment rate. When the current eviction moratorium lifts, families and people who are behind on rent will be in jeopardy of losing their homes.
That’s why, on August 23 from 4-6pm at Parque Castillo, WSCO invites you to a bilingual meeting on eviction defense. We’re organizing to ensure renters know their rights under the current moratorium, what to do if an eviction is filed, and how we can have each other’s backs when the eviction moratorium lifts. The meeting will feature a housing lawyer from Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS), an organizer from the Minneapolis tenant group Inquilinxs Unidxs, and West Side renter leaders. They’ll present on renter rights and the importance of tenant organizing. The event centers renters, but all are welcome. Please wear a mask and social distance!
Special thanks to Cherokee Park United for their congregational donation, to CPU pastor Matthias Petersen-Bradt and WSCO leader Kathleen Ganley for leading on outreach calls!