year ago, Shar-Day Jackson didn’t want to admit she was in over her
head and needed help. But the substandard apartment she lived in was
condemned, and she and her two children, now 3 and 6, became homeless.
Today she’s building on her strengths after one year in the Families Moving Forward
Keys to Success program.
After the eviction, Shar-Day and her children stayed temporarily with her mother,
but sharing the one-bedroom apartment proved stressful for everyone.
At that point Shar-Day found the courage to make the call to Families Moving
Project Update:
Emerson North
Riverview Apartments
“Coming here was a big step for me. I had never been in a shelter before,” she
said. “This made me a stronger person. I had to be the grown up person and make
grown up decisions.”
Shar-Day moved quickly through the shelter program, staying just 28 days before
enrolling in our new Keys to Success program. Thanks to private contributions
raised each year supplementing a transitional housing grant, we are able to provide
rental assistance and supportive services to help working parents move into housing
Continued on page 5
Emerson North plans advance
lans for Emerson North are advancing with a
key endorsement from a national elected official
with North Minneapolis roots, and neighborhood
engagement with PCNF about the development.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) met Feb. 22 with PCNF
staff, Eemerson North task force members and former
FMF guests at FMF Day Center to discuss the need for
affordable housing in North Minneapolis.
Emerson North is planned as multi-family workforce
housing affordable to households with income between
$20,000 and $40,000 a year, with up to 12 units reserved
for formerly homeless families transitioning from our
Families Moving Forward emergency shelter program.
FMF staff will provide support services for them.
Application priority will be given to families displaced by
last May’s tornado, which damaged 500 homes, many of
which remain in disrepair.
Left to right: Allison Johnson, PCNF; Patty Stromen, Church of
the Ascension; Fr. Michael O’Connell, Church of the Ascension;
Bishop Richard Howell, Shiloh Temple International Ministries;
Demetrius Pendleton; Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN); Shar-Day
Jackson; Lee Blons, PCNF; Felicia Mason-Edwards, PCNF; Kris
Berggren, PCNF.
Ellison endorses Emerson North as community asset
A key endorsement comes from Rep. Keith Ellison
(D-Mpls), who lives in the Near North neighborhood.
Ellison told a group meeting Feb. 22 at the Families
Moving Forward Day Center that Emerson North is the
kind of high-quality affordable housing that will be a
community asset by creating jobs, generating customers for
local businesses and boosting families’ financial stability.
“There are two ways to deconcentrate poverty. One is to
disperse poor people, the other is to make them not poor
anymore. How do we break the chain of poverty? Let’s
start with housing,” Ellison said.
2 | Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation SPRING 2012
Process to earn neighborhood approval
Last fall, the Northside Residents Redevelopment
Council asked PCNF to work together to create a
Community Benefits Agreement. This is a nationally
recognized community development process that creates
a legally binding agreement between a developer and a
neighborhood association.
A draft agreement is now pending that includes design
changes to Emerson North desired by neighbors, sets
minority hiring goals, and establishes a neighborhood
advisory group in exchange for NRRC board support.
PCNF is pleased to contribute to setting a standard that
ensures that the Northside community benefits not only
from Emerson North but future development as well. n
Visit our Facebook page for the latest EN info:
Riverview Apartments taking shape
The mild winter weather was a boon to construction workers at Riverview Apartments, which is going up on schedule.
Framing is expected to be complete near the end of April; roofing in May; and mechanical, electrical and plumbing
rough-ins during July. Initial occupancy is projected around November 1.
Wanda Driver hands her homemade chocolate chip
cookies to Watson-Forsberg site supervisor Loren
Butler. Driver, a member of Minnehaha United
Methodist Church who serves on the Riverview
Task Force, visits workers at the construction site
weekly to deliver homemade cookies and keep an
eye on the building’s progress.
Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church children from preschool
through sixth grade are helping other children by donating
their weekly Sunday School collection to our Families
Moving Forward program. They have collected $244.17
so far.
Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation SPRING 2012 | 3
Advocates urge public funding for affordable housing
PCNF volunteers are among the many Minnesotans calling for an end to homelessness and urging lawmakers to fund
affordable housing with state bonds. Pictured below are a few of the advocates who visited the Capitol, signed hundreds of
postcards, made countless calls and sent numerous letters and e-mails to lawmakers.
Advocates from PCNF congregations met with Rep. Keith
Downey (R-Edina)
Front, left to right: Rev. Pam Fickenscher, Edina Community
Lutheran Church; Mary Pat Potts, Families Moving Forward
host coordinator, Church of St. Edward, Bloomington;
Lorenzo Vasquez, PCNF volunteer. Rear: Rep. Downey, second
from left, with John Peterson, Linda Woodstrom, and Nancy
Peterson, ECLC members.
Sen. Mary Jo McGuire (DFL-St. Paul), in red, surrounded
by visitors including, center, housing advocate and blogger
Michael Dahl and Nancy Sabin, a member of House of
Hope Presbyterian Church which has embarked on a
collaboration with PCNF and Wilder Foundation to create
youth housing in St. Paul.
4 | Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation SPRING 2012
David and Lorene Liddle, right, members of Westminster
Presbyterian Church, hold a “safety net” while
discussing affordable housing with Rep. Jim Davnie
PCNF staff and volunteers gathered Feb 28 at our offices
in St. Paul to learn how to share their passion for ending
homelessness most effectively. They were preparing for
Homeless Day on the Hill on March 8, organized by
Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless.
Strength & stability, cont. from the front page.
Save the date for
The Journey Home
he Journey Home is the largest fundraising event of the year for
our Families Moving Forward program. With our community’s
help, this annual event will play a major role in closing our
$240,000 operating gap for this program before June 30, 2012. These
funds go directly to serving families like Shar-Day’s, to help them attain
stability, stay focused on goals and find and keep housing.
If you are passionate about ending homelessness,
please join us for this inspiring event. You will
leave this hour-long luncheon with a deep
understanding of homelessness and those whose
lives are turned upside down because of it.
Shar-Day says learning money
responsibility—such as postponing impulse
buys like new shoes—is her personal key to
success. She’s asked to enroll in FMF housing
advocate Sakinah Mujahid’s financial literacy
class, a new offering for shelter guests and
former guests.
“It will help me document where my money
is going and prepare me so when the Keys
program does end, I will know how to save,”
Shar-Day says.
Please contact [email protected] or
651-789-6260, ext 200, for more information.
“Without Families Moving Forward, I think
I’d probably still be struggling to pay my
bills. Maybe even homeless again, or living
somewhere not up to par. Now I can live
how I’m supposed to live.” n
WHAT: The Journey Home
WHEN: Wed., May 2, 12 noon (doors open at 11:30)
WHERE: Earle Brown Heritage Center, Brooklyn Park
Directions: www.earlebrown.com/mapdirections.html
Facts and findings about family homelessness
301: The average number of homeless families seeking shelter in
Hennepin County per month. The number has grown 96 percent
since late 2006. (Minnesota Housing Partnership 4th quarter 2011 report)
A new Minnesota-based study finds that supportive housing
improves outcomes for children who would otherwise be homeless,
in particular in reducing child abuse and neglect. (U of Minnesota Center for
Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, 2012)
quickly. Sharday earns $12 an hour as a
part-time receptionist at a downtown social
service agency. The family lives in a south
Minneapolis neighborhood convenient to her
workplace and her first grader’s elementary
We are grateful
• Clinton Avenue Townhomes was donated
to Plymouth Church Neighborhood
Association by Margee Bracken and Peggy
Lucas, longtime PCNF supporters. All eight
rent-subsidized units will be rehabbed.
Planned updates include new siding,
kitchens, furnaces and air conditioning,
plus outdoor site improvements.
• More than 200 neighbors visited Nicollet
Square Feb. 9 for Kingfield Neighborhood
Association’s Empty Bowls soup
fundraiser, which raised about $3,500.
Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation SPRING 2012 | 5
Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation
2610 University Ave West, Suite 100
St. Paul, MN 55114
PERMIT 29411
Sustainable giving is an investment in the future
“Supportive services are
one of the reasons I like
Nicollet Square. The rent
is prorated and there are
employment opportunities
and coaching,” said Joan.
n 2010, Joan Higinbotham accepted a friend’s invitation
to the Ending Homelessness Together luncheon and
intended to write a $100 check to the cause—until she
actually heard the speakers that day.
Hearing the powerful personal stories of how PCNF is
making a life-changing difference in young people’s lives
at Nicollet Square, Joan decided to become a member of
the Spirit of Home Society, those pledging at least $1,000 a
year for five years.
Furthermore, she has
confidence that PCNF’s
track record of success and
best practices add to the
cumulative value of a larger
Affordable housing leads to other positive steps
Joan believes that having good, affordable housing is the
“first step that leads to a lot of other good steps,” such as
the ability to maintain health, a place to do homework, and
a positive social life—especially for children learning to be
part of a community.
Joan Higinbotham of St. Paul
is a Spirit of Home Society
A wise investment in supportive services
Joan also recognizes that housing complemented by
supportive services is a winning equation for many who
have experienced homelessness—children, young people
and adults.
Sustainable gifts such as Joan’s help us to operate our
current programs and plan for future housing developments
for those in need. n
“If you’re going to make
a long-term commitment you want to make sure your
money is wisely invested,” Joan said.
For information about all our housing developments
please visit www.plymouthfoundation.org/housing