Homeless Advocates Give North Loop A “Champion” Award
A little more than two years after they opened their innovative new facility on the edge of the North Loop, Avivo recognized and honored some of their biggest supporters at the 2023 Avivo Night of Champions at The Depot downtown. And one of the four honorees this year: the North Loop Neighborhood Association.
“They are committed advocates and the first line of contact for community concerns, always ready to engage with us and find ways to support our work,” said Avivo President and CEO Kelly Matter. “The North Loop Neighborhood Association’s gone way above and beyond in their partnership with us.”
Avivo Village contains 100 tiny homes that allow those experiencing homelessness to leave the streets and encampments, not only for a secure place to stay indoors but also to be connected to services that allow them to find employment and transition into permanent housing.
North Loop Neighborhood Association president Diane Merrifield said the award came as a nice surprise.
“We’re so grateful for the great relationship that we’ve been able to establish with them,” she said, “but an award at the end is not what we were looking for. We were looking for the relationship and the partnership.”
The NLNA helped organize a large donation drive to welcome Avivo–and ended up delivering truckloads of goods. This year, the neighborhood is coordinating a program in which Avivo Village residents will pick up litter once a week in the North Loop and receive gift cards in return.
Merrifield said it’s a win-win. We get cleaner streets while the residents get a little bit of employment and partnership with the community.
The funds for this project are coming from the city of Minneapolis’s Equitable Engagement Fund.
By Mike Binkley, North Loop volunteer