Funding the Ecosystem: Organizing to Build Housing and Community Ownership Opportunities
In the same community where George Floyd was brutally murdered by police, Minneapolis tenants tirelessly organize with United Renters for Justice for racial justice, tenant protections, eviction moratoriums, and canceling rent. For years, tenants of five buildings were threatened to be evicted by a negligent landlord despite the lack of upkeep on the buildings, which included rodents, heating, and plumbing issues. Eviction seemed certain once the pandemic hit since the families — most of whom are immigrants and don’t have health care or access to government benefits — had collectively gone on rent strike.
As part of a successful class-action lawsuit against the landlord, thirty-eight families in South Minneapolis will eventually gain ownership of their five apartment buildings after spending years battling with their landlord.
The Land Bank Twin Cities bought the five properties in the Corcoran neighborhood for $7.1 million with a loan from the city and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Twin Cities. The two entities also provided financing to make necessary repairs to the properties. Over the next two years, the Land Bank Twin Cities will transfer ownership of the properties to the residents, who have named the buildings the “Sky Without Limits Community.” They plan to own the buildings as a cooperative and allow more families to move in — just 34 of the 69 units are currently occupied.
This week, NFG's Democratizing Development Program is excited to host a conversation with the McKnight Foundation, United Renters for Justice, and the Land Bank Twin Cities on short and longer-term strategies to address affordable housing and community development solutions during the pandemic. We will discuss how organizing, power building, place-based grantmaking strategies, and aligned investment supported the ecosystem of organizations to build community ownership opportunities for low-income and communities of color.
- Eric Muschler, Program Officer, Vibrant & Equitable Communities, McKnight Foundation
- Roberto de la Riva Rojas, Co-Director, United Renters for Justice/Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia
- Chloe Jackson, Organizer, United Renters for Justice/Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia
- Eddie Landenberger, Vice President & Senior Program Manager, Land Bank Twin Cities
If you have questions for this strategy session, please contact Nile Malloy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a part of an election webinar series hosted by NFG’s Integrated Rural Strategies Group, come and get real-time insights into emerging organizing, advocacy, and voter engagement campaigns in rural and small-city America, with an emphasis on cutting-edge, race-forward work and efforts to bridge the urban/suburban/rural divide.
DDP members can join NFG's Amplify Fund and Funders for a Just Economy on a unique virtual learning tour to learn how Black women-led organizations Stand Up Nashville and The Equity Alliance are building power in the places where they live and work. Over three sessions and alongside film, music, and meet and greet events, we will bring you into the incredible organizing demonstrating how to remake cities to do better for all of their residents - even in the face of climate disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.