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  • Writer's pictureVenus Darling

We Keep Us Safe: Neighbors Supporting Neighbors

What is home to you?

Nighttime shelters like tents, apartments, and houses are considered home to some. Others think of a place where we can shed our armor, feel safe, and loved, and have community. Understanding that Home is foundational to the human experience, the devastation of hazardous or unstable housing becomes even more palpable. The loss of this fundamental need is not just a personal tragedy but a collective societal failure.

Poverty is not a complicated issue, but rather an intentional aspect of the failures of our societal structures. Homelessness is not an unsolvable issue, just an interconnected one. These problems are not insurmountable; they require coordinated communal efforts and systemic change. While politicians point fingers at the supposed “moral failing” of our struggling neighbors – we point back and attest that personal responsibility is irrelevant in a system that relies on exploitation to exist.

Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association (PPNA) is under no illusions that our organization can single-handedly revolutionize our current system to center humanity instead of profits. Instead, we are committed to continuing to inform, organize for direct action and legislation, create pockets of community, and hold up our neighbors in need. Through programs like the Renter Support Fund (RSF), we strive to support our community so our neighbors can stay in their homes.

Closing of the Renter Support Fund

Unfortunately, the Renter Support Fund (RSF) is closed due to insufficient funds. This program has been a vital resource for many renters, offering financial relief and stability when they had nowhere else to turn. For the past 7 months, the program has been open and we were able to support 42 households. Since its inception, the program has supported over 514 renters, benefitting 698 adults and 528 children. Here is what a few RSF fund recipients had to say about this program:

“The renter support fund helped relieve some stress and aid in my rent and light bill payment for the month of May 2024. It helped tremendously reduce stress and anxiety and is a great blessing. Thanks so much.”
I've been having trouble getting a job. So [The Renter Support Fund] definitely helped me buy some time with my landlord.
“es de mucha ayuda ya que a veces y como esta la situacion economica es dificl completar la renta” Translation: [The Renter Support Fund] is very helpful because of the current economic situation, it is difficult to pay the rent.

Amid an ever-shifting financial landscape, most applicants have voiced concerns that resonate with many. Recipients of the fund cited the high cost of living as their primary reason for needing assistance, noting that the program significantly relieved their financial stress. While closing the program is difficult, PPNA is eager to reopen it.

Help Us Save the RSF
“We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond.” - Gwendelyn Brooks

We invite you to take ownership of this program that keeps our neighbors at home. The Renter Support Fund is a community-funded program. To help us generate the necessary income, here are some ways YOU can support this initiative!

If you are an organization or business interested in ensuring the continuation of this program by sponsoring a fundraiser or pledging a donation to support community members, please click the button below.

Hosting 101: How to host an RSF fundraiser!

Hosting a fundraiser house party for the Renter Support Fund is a powerful way to make a tangible impact in our vibrant Powderhorn Park community. Opening your doors to friends, neighbors, and colleagues creates a welcoming space where stories can be shared and connections can be deepened. These gatherings are more than just events; they're opportunities to build solidarity and support for our cost-burdened neighbors. Every conversation and donation contributes to the resilience and stability of our community, making it a place where everyone can thrive.

Our program depends on local funding and the support of a grassroots network of passionate community members like you. Whether it’s a barbecue, informal dinner party, coffee/tea party, or any other special event, you will play a crucial role in keeping our program going. Follow these 4 easy steps to create a memorable fundraising party:

Step 1: Contact PPNA & Set Fundraising Goals

(1 month out from the Party)

Meet with the fundraising team! Email to schedule an initial meeting. I will help you understand what to expect at the house party and how to prepare. I’ll do my best to answer your questions and make a plan for how to move forward. Together, we will define clear objectives for the fundraiser such as how much money we aim to raise and what you hope to take away from this event as a community member.

Set your party date and time and pick a date that works for you and your potential guests! Plan for 1.5 to 2 hours. Begin brainstorming agenda items, activities, and goals for the fundraiser.

Step 2: Create an Invitation List & Send out Invitations

(3 weeks out from the party)

Compile a list of friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues interested in supporting Minneapolis renters. Depending on the size of your home, send out 5-10 extra invitations beyond the desired amount of attendees that will fit comfortably in your space. Invite your network through either email or physical invitations. If virtually, we can provide you with an email template. Send your invites 3 weeks in advance and follow up a week or so later. It’s also a good idea to send a day-of reminder email or text!

Step 3: Party planning & logistics

(1 - 2 weeks prior)

Outline the flow of the event. We can help you plan a brief presentation about the Renter Support Fund, share impactful stories, and provide information on how your guests can contribute. Include time for socializing, entertainment, refreshments, and most importantly, community building.

About 1 week out, we will finalize the party agenda and logistics. Plan your primary activities for the party in addition to socializing. Some ideas could include games, a collective art project, or a guided conversation. Consider whether your party overlaps with mealtimes and decide if you want to provide a full meal or just snacks. PPNA is happy to provide a $75 host stipend for you to use to purchase food, beverages, or supplies.

Step 4: Put the fun in fundraising!

(Day of the party)

On the day of, send a reminder text to your guests as you prepare for the gathering. Aim to set up your space about 30 minutes before the start time. Create a warm welcoming space and arrange seating to encourage conversation and connection.

Welcome your guests as they arrive, facilitate introductions, and create a friendly atmosphere. Make it easy for guests to donate during the event (we can help you with this!). Most importantly: enjoy the party, connect with your community, and have fun!

Final Thoughts,

Hosting a fundraiser house party is a wonderful way to make a meaningful contribution and strengthen the bonds within our vibrant Powderhorn community. Every effort counts and brings us closer to ensuring everyone has a place to call home. It's a chance to inspire others to join our mission of fostering economic and community development. Imagine the collective power of our community coming together, each person contributing their time, energy, and resources to make a real difference. Your effort raises essential funds and amplifies our shared values of inclusivity and support. So, let's celebrate our community's spirit and generosity—host a fundraiser house party and be a vital part of this positive movement!

Want to help save the RSF but don't want to host a party? No problem! Sharing this post, donating, or volunteering your time at PPNA are all invaluable ways to connect and uplift your community.

Embracing the diversity of tactics and harnessing our collective strength, compassion, and dedication keeps our neighborhood strong. Your contributions and generosity can help us ensure everyone has the stability and security they deserve.

Editor: Ren Koo


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