Insight News

Feb 14th

Despite foreclosure crisis in North Minneapolis Black community; new alliance emerges to fill gap

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Sherrie Pugh Sullivan

NRRC has provided financial counseling, created affordable housing opportunities and walked hand-in-hand with the folks who find themselves in a "special time of need". Sherrie Pugh Sullivan

For over 16 years, the Northside Residents Redevelopment Council (NRRC) has provided a mortgage foreclosure prevention program for residents of north Minneapolis. During that time, we have processed hundreds of emergency assistance loans to stop the bank from swooping in on residents. Often, these efforts have prevented lenders from taking the homes away from our brothers and sisters who have worked so hard to own a house, yet just plain "fallen behind" in payments.

NRRC has provided financial counseling, created affordable housing opportunities and walked hand-in-hand with the folks who find themselves in a "special time of need".

Recently, in the middle of the largest mortgage foreclosure crisis in the history of north Minneapolis-and the nation, the Home Ownership Center, a partner with whom we have worked with for countless years, decided to slash all of our funding used to provide mortgage foreclosure prevention loans to Northside residents.

Too many times, when program money is cut, our first instinct is to cut and run as fast as we can, saying, "Well, I guess we just won't have this or that program anymore because they cut us off."

However, that is the easy way out.

The needs of our residents don't change because a particular funder decides to withhold money or pull-out sooner than anticipated.

Far too often, we craft our proposals seeking money to fit with whatever a funder decides the "dance of the day" should be.

If they tell us to start singing the blues, we can't trip over our house shoes fast enough trying to get to the mantle to dust off our old "Ma" Rainey records. If they decide next week that the flavor of the day should be square dancing, we review the choreography to that "crabs in a barrel" dance that we do so well when we think one of our "partners" might beat us to the punch at the barn dance that night to get the treasured scrap of gold.

Rather than fight over scraps that are temporarily thrown our way, nonprofits must embrace a vision that allows us to seek alternative earned income potential. We must seek out new partnerships with funders who are in the fight for the long haul.

So, it is in that spirit that in the coming days, NRRC will team up with members of the Northside Neighborhood Alliance, a collaboration of 11 north Minneapolis neighborhood organizations, to propose an invigorated, emboldened and fresh mortgage foreclosure
prevention program.

NRRC will also continue to serve our residents with current mortgage foreclosure prevention services in the same spirit as we have done for the past 16 years.

Sometimes, we are called to lead by example. At other times, we are called to "practice what we preach" each day: "When you are dealt lemons, make lemonade."

As the old saying goes, "What doesn't kill us often makes us stronger." However, it is Mark Twain who may have said it best when he uttered the famous line, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."

Please pass the lemonade.

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