For a great summary, check out Cathy's post...she gives us a solid testimony about what the City is trying to shut down.
Nothing like looking at good ol' fashioned New York-style city corruption in a place like our backyard. Seriously...the employees of the City of Minneapolis don't get NEARLY the concern for their "safety" that the City is now expressing about the people who are served at the shelter.
Their real concern has nothing to do with codes or shelter or the homeless...it has EVERYTHING to do with marketing.
They're building a controversial new Stadium across the street from Sharing and Caring hands, a local homeless shelter funded and lead by Mary Jo Copeland, which has been there for several years. This is a shelter that is IMPERATIVE for the survival of thousands of Minneapolis residents every year, and given the state of the economy, YOU could be next. I know that I'm certainly on the short list as I stare down a period of unemployment this summer. All I need is a major medical problem and a missed mortgage payment and I'll be bankrupt for the rest of my life.
Mary Jo, here I come!
Make this personal, people....because it's not about the nameless homeless that you don't know...it's about YOU. It's about people you love. It's about people you haven't met yet because they're receiving services from the shelter because last week they were ejected from their homes, and in a couple years you might meet them when they get back on their feet. And maybe you'll get their story and realize that you could have helped by making a simple call.
I can say the above with a certain authority; I grew up on welfare and actually was formally "homeless" for awhile. It was only the grace of God that led me to people who provided me a roof and a place to go and relatives who cared. Not everyone has that very seemingly simple benefit. Some maybe have homes...but they don't have food. Or anywhere to keep their kids during the day while they work bottom-dollar jobs to keep the roof over their heads.
You may be asking yourself what I'm talking about, and good....you should! The City of Minneapolis is threatening to shut down Sharing and Caring Hands by removing their restaurant license, allegedly for "security issues" which were pretty obviously set up for the media to film...just after the plans for the new Stadium were announced.
Oh, and did I mention that the Republican National Convention is coming? It's in the best interest of the City to make sure the squeaky-clean Republicans don't see that Minneapolis has a dirty secret. (The homeless!) Because it's not good for tax dollars to see that the plight of people in a city as shiny as Minneapolis still exist.
I gotta say...for a city that is largely blue and prides itself on all sorts of pride, it's a sad state of affairs that they are choosing this particular attack against this particular shelter with all the political goings-on in this state. If they would only realize what Copeland's work would do to showcase what the City is willing to do for the downtrodden!
From a marketing standpoint, Sharing and Caring Hands is the City of Minneapolis's Ace in the hole with regard to the political convention. It's a political diamond and free for the taking, free for media shots of politicians kissing babys, washing feet, giving soup to the homeless, and garnering publicity so that not only would they win, but Sharing and Caring Hands would win, more would donate money to the shelter after all the publicity, they'd have volunteers coming out of their ears...ad infinitum.
But no...that leads me to believe that the issue really isn't politics; it's about the money. The Stadium money. Because no one wants to feel the guilt through spending a fortune on prime seats for the Twins Game while looking at the poor people across the street - people who might not even have shoes. Might as well shut them down...it'll be better for the Twins and the general city economy if there is no dichotomy between the rich and the poor. It's all dust under the rug.
Read more facts and links over at Abbey Roads, Abbey Roads 2, and St. Monica's Kneeler.
PLEASE! If you haven't done so - come to the aid of Caring and Sharing hands and make your objections known to the City of Minneapolis. Please call today or before April 25 Mayor R.T. Rybak's policy aide: Erica Prosser 612-673-2133 or firstname.lastname@example.org