Monday, April 28, 2014

An open letter to Mayor Ness and the Duluth City Council

The letter below was signed by nearly 300 people who took part in "A Place to Call Home" concert to honor the memory and legacy of Steve O'Neil. 

April 27, 2014
TO:                Duluth Mayor Don Ness
Duluth City Council
FROM:          Concerned people of Duluth

home sweet home? photo: Deb Holman
At its first meeting of the year, the Duluth City Council, with the support of Mayor Ness, unanimously passed a resolution supporting a Homeless Bill of Rights and committing the City to take bold action to end homelessness.
Three months later, the city has not appointed a single person to the Human Rights Commission, the body tasked with implementing the resolution. In recent days, Mayor Ness has been quoted by the Duluth News-Tribune calling housing projects for the chronically homeless a “distraction,” and urging Duluth to “stay focused on market-rate housing.”
Homelessness remains a life-and-death struggle for hundreds of Duluthians, and a looming threat to thousands more. In March, the Minnesota Housing Partnership issued a report that identified Duluth as the least affordable rental housing market in the state, with an astounding 59% of Duluth renters paying more than they can afford for housing.
Duluth’s housing shortage is felt most acutely by low-income Duluthians. They will not be saved by imagined trickle-down benefits of investment in higher-end “market rate” housing. Please do not let the Homeless Bill of Rights be mere empty words. We urge you to take action today, hand in hand with housing advocates, landlords, the faith community and people experiencing poverty, to build a Duluth in which everyone has a safe place to call home. We can start by creating opportunities for poor Duluthians to have a voice in city policy and funding decisions; improving rental rules to reduce barriers to fair housing; and investing in housing for people who are least able to afford it.
As the late Steve O’Neil said, “homelessness is as wrong and unjust today as it has always been.” Homelessness is an economic, social and moral crisis that cannot be tolerated in a just and democratic society. Duluth can do better. 


Donna Howard
Kate Bradley
Chelsea Froemke
Mike Hoemke
Cruz Mendoza
Sarah Jessico
Jen Schultz
Rob Weidner
Sr Jean Maher OSB
Sr Lois Eckes OSB
Sr Teri Spinler OSB
Deb Holman
Sheryl Waterman
Amy Blakeslee
Doug Maguire
Cynthia Broin
Christine Daniel
Debbie Isabell-Nelson
Kristy O’Neil
Margaret A
Joel Kilgour
Dawn Hulmer
Rev David Tryggestad
M Suzanne Moyer
J Roeper
Tina Welsh
Joyce M Kramer
Judy Anne Dwyer
Jessica Zieman
Rachel Waldorf
Alex Kurilla
Ryan Jundt
Jennifer Tobolaski
Sheila L St Clair
Susan Bakkeine-Banks
Carolyn Brooks
Judy Gitar
Jessica Munson
Chris Point
Flora Woodfork
Fred Tyson
Jessica Sweeney
Scott Peterson
Ellie Shoenfeld
Mary Butler
Andy Cragun
Julene Boe
Mark Johnson
Jean French
Dennis Peterson
Theresa Thompson
Britni Roberts
Karissa Dihey
Aaron Prather
Shirley Rose
Donna M Barr
Beverly Downs
Michelle Slater
Rachel Kjolberg
Christina Hanson
Susan Geissler
Derek Lehecka
Patti Maguire
Jan Karon
John C Pegg
Brooke Miller
Elizabeth Fena
Daniele Flood
Lila Plowman
Marcella Jackson
Laurie Briggs
Rosy Bradley
Ellen Hufschmidt
Gary Boelhower
Mandy Michele Kvistad
Andrew Fena
Christopher Green
Allen Killian-Moore
Kathleen Hermes
Lynda Dietrich
Kristiana Jordan
Nat Constance
Melissa Boyle
Julie Jeatran
Aaron J
Libby Gaalaas
Caroline L Pelzel
Morgan James Bacmann
Robert DeAngelus
Samantha Decorah
Sandra Bennett
Rachael Kilgour
Michael Aubidje
Jamie Mores
Sue Olson
Carole Newkumet
Phil Norrgard
Rev Suzanne Wasikzuk
Penny Cragun
Eileen Gannon
Cathy Bergh
Elizabeth Bilden
C Jean Kilgour
Robert Kilgour
Clara Vorrell
Kathy Nolte
Jesse Peterson
Sarah LaChance Adams
Lucy Meade
Michael Niemi
Randolph Jay Benson
Rodger Cragun
Eileen Molitor
Jerry Molitor
Marna Banks
Kathleen LeRoy
Courtney Cochran
Adam Stonehouse
Scott Laderman
Coral McDonnell
Steve Burt
Judith Karon
Kelly Smith
Donald Johnson
Andrea Gelb
Ann Mahoney
Michele Flatau
Susan Darley-Hill
Mary Slattery
Elaine Schmid
Bernadette Savage
Tim Stratten
Ajanice Knox
Cherice Wilson
Thomas Bersell
Lyn Clark Pegg
Deborah Josephson
Rev Cathy Schuyler
Amelia Wilcox
Rebecca Domagala
Emily Gaarder
William LaSalle
Lee Dietrich
Nancy Knudson
Elizabeth Bartlett
Barbara Akre
Linda Riddle
Jennifer Hinnekamp
Pamela Mittelfeldt
Scot Bol
Janine Bjerklie
Barbara Kelly
Kristin Stuchis
Terill Yazzie
Geoff Norcross
Karen Koshere
Lynn Tryggestad
James Campbell
Chad Johnson
Jacqueline Welch
Lacy Lenz
Matthew Day
Grace Glick
George B Means
James A Barker
Steven Heinrich
Cynthia Chandler
Mark Todd
Earl hatton
James Johnson
Grandon Diver
Walter Nelson
Tamoor Malik
Clint Bays
Kevin K
Wanbly Ghost
Rodney Drain
Roger Reime
Lynnette Baker
Gilbert Johanson
Kami Hawkins
Tom Martin
C V Schwanekamp
Jared Blossom
Steven James Fullerton
Rick J Johnson
Wendy M Johnson
Darrill G
Ron Lidner
Robert Corbin
Keith McKenzie
Rownel Kohl
Steven Larson
Matthew James Rindt
Mac Hogfeldt
Andrew Moe
Kelly Wallin
Teressa Flippin
Rick Benoit
Mark A McElrath
Travis Hopman
Dennis Armstrong
Aaron Larson
John R Rawn
Donn Hawn
Jimmie MayBerry
Jeffrey Allanson
Ronnie Patterson
Greg Findley
James Bertean
Steve Johnson
Norman Hudson
Milton Myshack
Loren Payer
David Cowardin
Joe Olivier
Eric M Spaeth
Jonah M
Linda Bernsten
Naomi Christensen
Nettie Bothwell
Pat Michaels
Rev Brooks Anderson
Constance Moeller
Joan Hattestad
Jason Giddings
Judith Webb
Liz Carlson
Amy Wilcox
Chelsea Froemke
Melanie Lahr
Tory S
Cyrene Baskett
Frank Jorgenson
Eric Carlson
Maddie Borell
Robert Schuller
Susana Perala-Dewey
Will Sjoblom
Adeline Wright
Tineke Ritmeester
Lonni Coppin
Deb Cooper
John Sorensen
Wendy Ruhnke
Louise Levy
Morris Levy
Patricia M Sobczah
Jim Suttie
Ruth Leathers
Jean Walsh
Ruby Swanson
Cathy Priest
Mike Priest
Mary Austin
Jerome Kwako
Harley Blake
Paula Robinson
Kathy Hanson
Sarah Priest
Judy Gibbs
Shawn Wentz
George Ham
Martin Campbell
Keith Bellanger
Marie Bellanger
Steven Olson
Larry Barber
Sara Bellanger
Nicole Bellanger
Lisa Ronnquist
Brandon Guenthner
Gourage Saucke
Deborah Jordan
Mary Jones
Shawn Carr
Kevin Logan
Anita Anderson
Kevin Kjoberg
Sam McKenney
Daren B Saxin


  1. This would be a more desirable place to live if we had more economic opportunities and people able to afford the many empty houses and condos we already have. Market housing is meaningless if only a few can attain them, and the rest are left to fall to disrepair, and the few rental units available beyond the reach of many. Help get the people in those empty houses, get the poor into homes, then worry about your fancy pants market rate.

  2. Mayor's night tonight and the last Tuesday of every month. At 430 people can sign up to speak with Mr. Ness, he will speak one , on one with all who up. I will be going to fill his ear on this and other issues. Please come down to city hall then up yo Mr.Ness's office to lobby him to take housing seriously and to make appointments to the human rights commission