Friday, June 5, 2015

3rd Annual Housing for All Community Summit

Maude Dornfield of Life House speaks about their Safe Harbor program for trafficked youth. Photo: Jake Nelson
On May 27, 2015, more than 200 people from across St Louis County gathered at the Coppertop Church in Duluth for the Housing for All Summit. Loaves and Fishes Community and CHUM initiated these gatherings three years ago as a grassroots, action-driven gathering where everyone -- from elected officials and law enforcement officers to social and medical service providers and people experiencing homelessness -- have an equal say in developing strategies to end homelessness in our region.

This year's Summit participants identified four action steps that we will work on together in the coming year:
  1. Creating tax credit incentives for landlords to rent to those who have criminal records. 
  2. Creating a universal background and credit check that tenants could use for all applications in a housing search. 
  3. Drafting the content of Duluth's Homeless Bill of Rights Ordinance and passing it through City Council, then using it as a model for the county as a whole. 
  4. Creation of a long-term supportive housing facility for those with severe and persistent mental illness.
The summit was organized into small break-out groups. This group talks about improving collaboration with local government. Photo: LeAnn Littlewolf
We are working on a full report-back that will be made available to the public in coming weeks. In the meantime, we are holding follow up meetings in Duluth and on the Range to begin the work on our four action steps. If you were not able to make the Summit but would like to be involved in community solutions, you are warmly welcome to attend. 

Duluth Follow-Up Meeting
June 17, 5:30-7:30pm. Trepanier Hall (212 W 2nd St)
Food and childcare provided

Range Follow-Up Meeting
June 23, 2-4pm, Virginia Workforce Center (820 9th St N)

Virginia City Council member Nevada Littlewolf speaks about the need for collaboration across the county. Photo: LeAnn Littlewolf

The entire group voted on top community priorities, with the help of Emily Aldritt from SOAR Career Solutions. Photo: LeAnn Littlewolf

Monday, June 1, 2015

Loaves and Fishes June wishes

Loaves and Fishes relies almost entirely on small gifts of time, money and goods to continue our work of hospitality. This is truly a community effort! Please help if you are able and share this list with friends and your faith community.
Donations are accepted every day 8am-9pm at 1712 Jefferson St, Duluth

Questions? Call 218-724-2054. Thank you!

Food: Coffee; creamer; sugar; butter or margarine; vegetable oil; salad dressing; healthy breakfast cereal; oatmeal; canned tomatoes (whole or diced, large cans preferred); canned tuna (large cans preferred); mayo; pasta sauce; peanut butter; gift cards to Whole Foods Co-op and SuperOne.

Household: Dish soap; hand towels; laundry detergent, toilet paper.

Personal: Earplugs; new men's underwear (medium and large); new cotton socks; shampoo; sunscreen.

Street outreach: Tarps (camo preferred); rope; backpacks; bottled water; bug repellant; gas cards; bus cards; rain gear.

Bike Cave: Bike locks and cables; chain breaker; 3 in 1 oil; WD40; cable cutter; derailleur and brake cables; cable housing; fine steel wool; tubes (700 cc tubes 1 1/4 to 1 3/4, 27" tubes 1 1/4 to 1 3/4, 20" tubes 1 3/4 to 2 1/4); orange pumice hand cleaner.

Special requests: House slippers (all sizes, especially men's 9-13); large colander; extra seeds and starters of all varieties for the garden.

Volunteer requests: Meal angels to prepare and deliver an evening meal once per month to either house (we usually feed 15 people per house); Bicycle mechanics; Plumber to assist with repairs to Olive Branch utility sink and washer; Volunteer painting crews to help paint the exterior of Hannah House. Please call (218-724-2054) or email ( if interested!

Cash donations: This is our biggest wish, to pay house expenses and meet emergency needs of guests. Checks to Loaves and Fishes, 1614 Jefferson St, Duluth MN 55812; or donate online at Loaves and Fishes is a people-powered movement for change, WE ARE NOT a tax-deductible charity.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Support the Housing Access Center

A group of advocates has been working diligently to re-open the Housing Access Center. HAC will provide information, education and problem solving to tenants and landlords and work to prevent evictions. This is a needed service in our community!

1Roof Community Housing has agreed to host the program and St Louis County and several foundations have made financial commitments. What we need now is a financial commitment from the City of Duluth to get the program off the ground.

Please take a few minutes today to send an email to the following people:

 Why we need HAC
  1. HAC will meet an unmet need for a large and geographically diverse population. More than 40% of Duluthians are renters and many Duluth landlords own just a handful of units and do not have access to the same resources as large property management companies. Before it closed in 2009, more than 2,000 renters and landlords utilized HAC's hotline, mediation or counseling services per year (over 90% of them for the first time).
  2. There are as many as 500 eviction filings in Duluth every year. Each eviction costs thousands of dollars in court fees, lost rent and other expenses for landlords and renters. It also costs the City, St Louis County, and the community as a whole in the form of emergency housing and stabilization services. In Duluth's tight rental market, eviction often leads to prolonged homelessness.
  3. HAC will offer free, one-on-one mediation, but most of its work will happen long before this is needed. Its focus will be on education, counseling and referrals. There is NO free, pre-eviction service of this kind available in the Duluth area. 
  4. The City is responsible for overseeing rental properties. HAC will greatly enhance the work of the City to ensure a functional and fair rental market and to promote neighborhood stability. 
  5. The City formally adopted the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness in 2007. HAC was part of the original 10 Year Plan and re-opening it was identified as a top community priority for 2014 by community stakeholders. Funding HAC is in line with Duluth's commitment to the plan.
  6. The City's contribution to HAC will be miniscule compared to other line items in the budget, and will be offset by reduced evictions and rental turnover, reduced police calls to problem properties and a better overall rental market. Promoting housing and neighborhood stability at the front end is far more cost effective than managing the symptoms of a challenging rental market.

Spring 2015 newsletter is here!

 Spring 2015