skyline of Minneapolis

How Homeowners Can Help Minneapolis Rebuild

By Tanya Svoboda
July 2020

In response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and fueled further by the recent killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, among others, crowds of protestors have spilled into the streets  demanding reform and an end to systematic racism in America. Though many of the protests are peaceful, there have been some that created significant property damage. A New York Times’ article notes, “Since the death of Mr. Floyd, protests have erupted in at least 140 cities across the United States, and the National Guard has been activated in at least 21 states.”

This civil unrest comes at a time when communities were already struggling with shutdowns related to COVID-19. Many business owners that were preparing to reopen are unable to because of the damage to their storefronts and surrounding area.

This is particularly hard to stomach in communities of color which, according to the Idaho State Journal article, US Cities Assess Damage From Rioting, Looting and Violence as Nationwide Unrest Continues, have been disproportionately hurt “not only in terms of infections but in job losses and economic stress.”

Homeowners nationwide are looking for ways to revitalize their communities. In Minneapolis, there are plenty of ways to contribute to the rebuilding of your community and the neighborhoods around you. Here are three ways Minneapolis is working toward recovery.

1. Volunteer

In Minneapolis, the top priority in the relief efforts has been food. The Star Tribune reports, more than 240 businesses were damaged or destroyed by civil unrest leaving the community without major grocery stores, limited transportation, and high unemployment. Various groups throughout the city have organized efforts to help the areas of the city most affected by the damage. While some of these programs have already completed their initial phases, contacting these organizations for future volunteer opportunities is a great place to start.

  • The Coven: A co-working space for women, non-binary, and trans individuals coordinating supply drops. In addition to seeking donations of baby wipes, culturally appropriate shampoo and conditioners, and laundry soap, they are also looking for volunteers to drop the supplies off to those in need.
  • The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities: Located a block from 38th and Chicago, this location has temporarily been turned into a food distribution site. Those looking to volunteer can contact Molly Hemes.
  • Support the Cities: This group is coordinating various efforts throughout the city to deliver food and supplies. They are also in need of volunteers to help sort, distribute, and restock supplies.
2. Donate

If you are unable to donate your time, there are a variety of organizations accepting monetary donations to help get the city back on its feet in a variety of ways. Here are a few:

  • West Broadway Business and Area Coalition: The WBC is partnering with Northside Funders Group to raise money to support Northside businesses impacted by COVID-19 and the recent uprising. To date, they have raised over 1.5 million dollars.
  • The Lake Street Council: This organization has vowed to use 100% of all donations to support small businesses and nonprofits struggling after the recent unrest. They will use the money to help these establishments rebuild storefronts and reopen their businesses.
  • African Economic Development Solutions: AEDS has created a Business Relief Fund to meet the needs of local African immigrant businesses in the form of a forgivable loan in an effort to keep these small businesses open.
3. Patronize

Shopping local was already a rising trend to support small businesses hurt by COVID-19 shutdowns. Increasing your efforts and focusing on stores, restaurants, and businesses also affected by civil unrest will help these neighborhood gems thrive again after cleanup efforts are complete.

While stores and restaurants may not be open again for some time, there are ways to patronize your favorite spots while they rebuild.

Here are some ideas for helping local businesses as they recover from both COVID-19 and the subsequent protest damage:

  • Purchase gift cards: Your favorite restaurant may currently be boarded up but buying a gift card now for a dinner you’ll enjoy later, is a great way to get much-needed funds into the hands of those eatery owners.
  • Buy in advance: If a treasured local boutique, shop, or gallery lost inventory as a result of looting, pre-ordering your favorite products or purchasing a gift certificate now can help speed the spot’s recovery.

The Twin Cities are resilient, and opportunities abound to pitch in, speak up, and help-out as the city and its various neighborhoods rebuild.


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