This week’s newsletter will be, pending unforeseen circumstances, my final communication as your City Council Member. As I said earlier today at my final City Council meeting: I love the City of Minneapolis now more than I ever have.
The people of this city make it great, and I feel incredibly grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to dedicate four years of public service to the city that has been a source of so much opportunity for me throughout my life. We’ve taken on enormous, complex issues like increasing affordable housing options for our residents, working to end unsheltered homelessness, transforming public safety into a system that works better for all, and redesigning our transit systems so they better meet the needs of our residents, and we’ve made real progress. I have gotten to work with community members and city staff who have shown endless creativity, commitment, and talent in service of our city, and it’s been a real privilege.
Much will be said about this transition and the next period of time in Minneapolis politics, but I’ll just leave with this: I hope you stay engaged in improving our city in every way you are able. Now more than ever we need dedicated residents to step up and transform our systems of inequality into an equitable reality that ensures all can thrive in our city. I plan to stay involved in less public ways, and I look forward to seeing you all in community in the years to come.
We are, as we have ever been, all in this together.
I am proud of the investments this budget makes through:
investing more money in continuing the alternative to police response centering on mental health crisis teams,
increasing needed youth programming through the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board,
a Council-led amendment to add $3.5 million more dollars to the Office of Violence Prevention to better support a public health approach to public safety,
an amendment I sponsored to ensure that worker protections enforcement is fully funded next year, and much more.
Plan for Winter Weather, Major Snow Storm Likely Today
Winter in Minnesota can be tough with extreme cold, whiteout blizzards and power outages. Children, older adults and people with chronic illness are especially at risk during cold months. Take steps in November to prepare for severe winter weather:
Behavioral Health Crisis Response Team Launches Next Week, Press Conference Scheduled
Last week, the Council received an update from the Office of Performance and Innovation on the imminent launch of the City’s behavioral health crisis response teams.
I am excited to see this crucially needed program begin service assisting the residents of Minneapolis. Ensuring that all residents have the emergency responses that are appropriate for their needs is necessary for everyone in our community to feel safe regardless of their race, class, health status, or zip code.
The press conference will be on Monday, December 13th at 10:30am in City Hall and will feature City staff from the Office of Performance of Innovation, City leaders, as well as leaders from Canopy Roots who are running the program for the City.
The behavioral health crisis responders will, beginning December 13th provide the following services:
Behavioral health interventions
Counseling and support to people in crisis
Referrals & connection to support services
Outreach essentials like water, socks, snacks, toiletries, etc.
And they can be requested by calling 911 and dispatchers will gather information and assess the eligibility of the situation for a mobile behavioral health crisis team response.
Guaranteed Basic Income Program Applications Now Open Through December 31st
Applications are now open for the pilot Guaranteed Basic Income program. The program aims to provide an income boost of $500 monthly to 200 Minneapolis households who need it most. The monthly payments will run for 24 months from spring 2022 through spring 2024.
Eligible applicants must:
Be 18 years or older by Jan. 1, 2022.
Have an annual income at or below 50% of the area median income for Minneapolis.
Live in one of these ZIP codes: 55403, 55404, 55405, 55407, 55411, 55412, 55413, 55430, 55454.
Have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The application is available in six languages and only takes a few minutes to complete. Apply by Dec. 31.
Waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.
What to do with extra recycling
Boxes that don’t fit in your recycling cart can go next to it in one large box or bundled together with string or twine (not wire or tape). Keep bundles to less than 3 feet by 3 feet and under 40 pounds so crews can lift them safely.
Extra bottles and cans can go next to your recycling cart in cardboard boxes or paper bags. Recycling in or next to your cart in plastic bags will be disposed of as garbage.
Help protect the safety of recycling collection crews and sorting staff by keeping tanglers out of your blue recycling cart. Like plastic bags, holiday lights, electrical cords and hoses get wrapped around equipment at recycling sorting facilities. They have to shut down operations for two hours every day so workers can climb into the machinery to remove tanglers by hand.
Wrapping paper and holiday cards with glitter, foil, reflective areas or velvet can not be recycled or composted and should go in the garbage. When buying wrapping paper, look for recyclable and recycled paper or use alternatives to reduce waste:
Buy or decorate reusable bags.
Wrap gifts in decorative scarves, towels, etc. Look up furoshiki for beautiful techniques.
Use the comics section of the newspaper, old wall maps or calendar pages.
Make your own wrapping paper by painting on newspaper or craft paper.
Consider a storage tote at your holiday gatherings to save holiday gift wrap, tissue paper and ribbons to reuse.
Keep Safe from COVID-19 Over the Holidays: State Offers Tests, Vaccines, & Boosters
As we come up on the end-of-year holidays, we find ourselves at a difficult point in the pandemic. Vaccination numbers continue to rise, and the recent authorization of vaccinations for kids from 5 to 11 is encouraging. On the other hand, highly contagious variants are driving Minnesota’s COVID-19 case numbers to an alarmingly high level, our hospitals remain crowded, and many of our fellow Minnesotans still do not have vaccine protection.
With that in mind, we’re encouraging everyone to think carefully about their holiday plans. It’s important to connect with family and friends, and no one wants to miss out on another holiday season. At the same time no one wants to be the one who passes a potentially deadly virus along to loved ones.
Minnesotans are encouraged to take the following steps to celebrate as safely as possible:
Get vaccinated. Minnesotans age 5 and up can be vaccinated. Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones this holiday season — especially those who can’t be vaccinated including children under 5. Find vaccines for the whole family.
Get tested. Even if you’re not having any symptoms, take a test before holiday gatherings to make sure you’re not spreading the virus to loved ones unknowingly.
Stay safe. Wear your mask indoors in public, wash your hands, and do your best to avoid crowded indoor spaces before getting together with family and friends. Take special care with high-risk loved ones and children under 5 who can’t be vaccinated.
A more energy efficient apartment allows people to pay less in monthly bills and is more comfortable: warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. When the heat and electricity cost more, the renter pays more either directly in utility bills or indirectly through higher rent.
Minneapolis Public Works wants your input on a proposed process to address traffic safety on neighborhood streets. The process provides a way for community members to request traffic calming and for Public Works to review those requests fairly, transparently and equitably.
After reviewing all of the feedback, Public Works will finalize the process early in 2022 and share details in the spring about how to request traffic calming measures.
Suggest a Location for an Air Quality Sensor
Minneapolis residents can suggest a location for air quality sensors – including on their own property – by Dec. 20. The City is planning a community air monitoring project to learn about local air quality concerns throughout the city.
The sensors are just under a foot long with a separate solar charger and battery. They need to be mounted on a post. They have SIM cards and will connect to City of Minneapolis Wi-Fi.
Find Out if You’re Eligible for Energy Assistance
Some Minnesota households pay as much as 30% of their income just on their heating bill. This year, the Department of Commerce expanded eligibility and benefits for the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program, paying up to $3,200 to cover energy bills for eligible Minnesotans. With the expanded eligibility, a family of four could have an income of almost $68,000 and still qualify.
The Energy Assistance Program helps people who own or rent their homes pay for current and past-due bills for electricity, gas, oil, biofuel and propane, emergency fuel delivery, and repair or replacement of homeowners’ broken heating systems. The Energy Assistance Program can also cover water and sewer bills.
Redistricting Group Continues Work on New Map, Significant Movement of Ward 3 Boundaries
After every census, Minneapolis updates the boundaries of its 13 City Council wards and six Park Board districts to reflect new population counts. The Redistricting Group, made up of 24 Minneapolis volunteers, builds the new maps with input from their communities. The Redistricting Group needs your help with the redistricting project to make sure all voices are heard.