Defend Glendale is a grassroots campaign of residents of the Glendale Townhomes and their allies organizing to prevent the privatization of Glendale Townhomes and the displacement of our families.
Envisioned by Hubert Humphrey and managed by the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, the Glendale Townhomes were built after World War II to close the shortage of affordable housing for Veterans returning from war. Today, Minneapolis is faced with a massive shortage of affordable housing, and Glendale is one of the few places left in the city where low-income families can find good homes.
Several private developers are working with Minneapolis Public Housing Authority to create high-density apartment complexes and business buildings to cater to the ever-expanding University of Minnesota campus and folks moving from the suburbs for the convenience of the light rail.
The Glendale Townhomes are a model for a strong, stable, mixed income, racially diverse community. The Glendale Townhomes are more than just housing – we are a place-based community that provides protection, a strong social network and stability for refugees, immigrants and low-income families.
According to an August 2015 assessment, a team of historical consultants retained by the MPHA confirmed that Glendale has the "integrity to merit listing in the National Register of Historic Places." This report confirms that Glendale should be recognized as a valuable development in the history of public housing in Minneapolis. The 184-unit community was a successful model for providing affordable, quality housing fo
Prospect Park, the neighborhood in which Glendale is located, is a mixed income, racially diverse community, in strong support for having Glendale public housing in its boundary. Considering the significant income disparities, especially for people of color in the state, Glendale Townhomes provides safe green spaces, community gardening, as well as access to public transit via the light rail Green Line, jobs, and health and community services. The privatization of Glendale Townhomes would mean the destruction of our community and the removal and displacement between 570 and 600 individuals, 50% or more of whom are children. For private developers, it would mean profit.
This privatization is gentrification of our community. It will cause the mass displacement of working class, mixed income, ethnically and racially diverse families. Many of the residents are refugees and having to relocate one more time, away from their community, will be a painfully traumatic experience.
We also have nowhere else to go. There is only a 3 percent rental vacancy rate in the Minneapolis housing market. Federal funding for Section 8 is not secure in the long term. Minneapolis has a thousands-long wait list to receive Section 8 vouchers; and even with a voucher in hand housing is difficult to find as many landlords do not rent to Section 8 in many neighborhoods.
Not living in affordable publicly owned housing means that we will be at risk of landlord foreclosure, or turning over properties from Section 8 to market rate as was the case in the recent housing mortgage crisis. Private business interests backed by political initiatives are putting Glendale families at risk of instability and homelessness.
What are the alternatives to privatization?
Instead of selling off publicly owned and operated housing for profit, we urge Minneapolis Public Housing Authority to undertake a rehab plan on as-needed basis. After all, recent Housing and Urban development inspections rate them at 98% out of 100%.
MPHA has always rehabbed their properties as part of their maintaining and managing responsibilities. Why should it be different now? Since the construction of the light rail Green Line, many private developers are changing the landscape of our neighborhood, increasing density and overcrowding and pushing out families who have lived here for generations. The Glendale Townhomes have become the top of their list to privatize, buy, and demolish.
The push to privatize Glendale Townhomes is about selling this land for profit rather than providing sustainable affordable housing for the people who needed the most. How can YOU help the Defend Glendale campaign? Ask your neighborhood or charitable organization to pass a resolution in support of the preservation of the Glendale Townhomes, and affordable publicly owned housing in your neighborhoods.
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Risks and challenges
It is unclear how long Defend Glendale will need to keep up its efforts. This all depends on how soon we can convince City Hall and other governing bodies to make protecting the Glendale homes and residents a priority.
The more money we raise, the stronger our organizing efforts will be in forcing a swift and comprehensive plan to protect Glendale residents. We hope you will make a contribution that feels meaningful and substantial to you!