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COVID-19: The potential for mass evictions

We are all in the same storm, but we are not all in the same boat. A phrase that’s been circling during the COVID-19 pandemic and one that aptly describes the way we all experience this crisisdifferently. 

With economic downturns and recessions, people are impacted differently. For example, homeowners were uniquely affected during the 2008 crisis, with a 225% increase in foreclosures over two years. After the dot-com bubble burst, individual investors lost $5 trillion in the stock market. And now with the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears that renters, especially those living in poverty and marginalized groups, will be the ones most impacted by this downturn. 

Renters are less financially prepared than homeowners
To best survive an economic downturn, families need both income and wealth in the form of liquid assets. Income refers to money coming in through employment, and liquid assets refers to cash (like in a savings account) or other assets that can be easily converted to cash like stocks and bonds. 

In general, renters have lower incomes than homeowners and fewer liquid assets, meaning that in a time of unemployment and underemployment, they are less equipped to weather financial hardship. Many live paycheck-to-paycheck without the ability to create an adequate safety net. 

According to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the median income for a renter is just over $37,000 a year and their median amount of savings is $800

“Among people who were working in February, almost 40 percent of those in households making less than $40,000 a year had lost a job in March,” says Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve. In contrast, only 13 percent of households earning more than $100,000 a year have lost work. 

With this level of unemployment and the cost of food, utilities, car payments, and rent, modest savings accounts are draining rapidly if not yet depleted. 

Families living in poverty
Families living in poverty have neither income nor wealth to carry them through the pandemic. Because of this, they’re being hurt the hardest, both short-term and long-term.

In the short-term, they’ll find it difficult to pay for their necessities and will be forced to forgo their rent payments. In the long-term, it will be challenging to find new employment in the fields they most often work, and building up new savings will be nearly impossible. 

And because economic inequality is closely linked to race and gender, people of color and women are facing significant economic challenges right now. 

People of color experience increased unemployment
In April of 2020, the unemployment rate for Whites was 14.2 percent, whereas unemployment was 16.7 percent for Blacks and 18.9 percent for Hispanics. 

During times of economic downturns, people of color experience increases in unemployment before their white coworkers. And when the economy improves, their unemployment rates take longer to decrease. Meaning they were the first to feel the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and they will be the last to feel the improvement. 

Women face unemployment and caretaking duties
With five times as many single mothers than single fathers in the United States, women are facing both a financial and caretaking burden right now. 

For employed single mothers, they were forced to take on the additional expense of childcare when schools closed. And when daycares closed, many women had to take a leave from work or quit their jobs to care for their kids, unable to qualify for unemployment. 

Women also face higher unemployment rates than men, and it’s difficult for single mothers to try to find new work while facilitating at-home learning and providing care.

An exacerbated rental crisis
So what does all of this mean? What happens when you have one of the worst unemployment crises in our history paired with record-high rents? You get a pre-existing housing crisis that’s become exacerbated by the addition of unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

And while it was a relief to many when the governor announced a suspension on evictions, it’s only a BAND-AID.  

It’s true—as long as you’re not a danger to others—you cannot be evicted during the peacetime emergency in Minnesota. But that hasn’t stopped landlords from filing eviction paperwork against families unable to pay their rent right now. Once the order is lifted, thousands of eviction cases will be heard in housing court, and families will lose their homes.

A rental crisis will lead to an eviction crisis
Mass evictions would be detrimental, not only to the economy but to families’ health and well-being. 

Once an eviction is on your record, it’s nearly impossible to secure better or similar-quality housing. Families would likely need to move school districts due to a lack of rental options and their children would face further instability and stress. And assuming unemployment remains where it is today, many families will still be out of work, still unable to pay their rent, and won’t be able to find housing. Families will be forced into homelessness. 

We can keep families in their housing
But we can help prevent this from happening. We can provide support to those in the community who are struggling with unemployment and underemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We can stop an economic domino effect caused by unpaid rent. We can keep families in safe, stable housing where they have a chance to get back on their feet once the pandemic passes.

Neighborhood House is supporting families with the leakiest boats during this storm. Of those we serve, 89 percent are people of color and 22 percent are single-mother households. Calls for housing assistance have tripled, with more than half of the calls coming from people who have never needed help before. 

When the average cost of rent in St. Paul is $1,303, it’s no surprise that those families disproportionately experiencing the economic impacts of the pandemic are struggling to afford their housing. 

Everyone deserves the chance to recover from this crisis. For many families, losing their housing will make that even more difficult. Partner with Neighborhood House in our efforts to keep St. Paul families in their homes after this crisis. We cannot do it alone.

Please fill out and submit the form below to contact us.

Che Lia Lee | Early Childhood Instructor

Che Lia is a 2022 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Anthropology program, where she also served on the Multicultural Education Coalition. Prior to her time at Neighborhood House, Che Lia spent the previous five years working in elementary schools and early education classrooms.

  • Che Lia leads Small Steps Child Care classes, working with dual-language learning children ages one to five years old.

Fluent in English and Hmong, Che Lia’s personal interests include hiking, cooking, and spending time with loved ones.

Maiyer Thor | Child Development Specialist

Maiyer has been with Neighborhood House since 2020 when she served as an intern with the Food Market.

In 2021, Maiyer was hired to work at Neighborhood House and now conducts all online and home-based learning sessions, tailoring all lessons to each students’ individualized needs. She also assists in Skills for School preschool classes. Maiyer brings several years of experience as an early childhood teacher for other nonprofits to her role at Neighborhood House.

  • Maiyer earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from St. Catherine University.
  • She is a certified user of the Keys to Interactive Parenting Scale (KIPS)

Fluent in English and Hmong, Maiyer is the daughter of immigrants and the mother of three young children.

Valerie Dorschner | Early Childhood Instructor

Valerie has worked at Neighborhood House since 2004.

Valerie leads the Skills for School preschool program and is responsible for the curriculum. She has over 20 years of experience in early childhood working with parents and children, and has training and experience working with neurodiverse and dual language students.

  • Valerie is a licensed teacher with a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of St. Thomas.
  • She holds licenses in elementary education and in early childhood education, and has several years of experience
    teaching elementary school.

Valerie enjoys her free time with her five children and one grandchild.

Amanda Williams | Parent and Early Childhood Education Program Manager

Amanda has served at Neighborhood House since 2014.

As the Parent and Early Childhood Education Program Manager, Amanda ensures the program continues to be culturally competent, responsive, and meets the needs of immigrant and under-resourced families with young children. She has
over 12 years of experience overseeing children and family programming in crisis nurseries, shelters, and early childhood education centers.

  • Amanda earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Services and Child Psychology from Metropolitan State University and is an
    alumni of a local nonprofit emerging leaders academy.
  • She is trained in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s), Psychological First Aid, Adult Mental Health First Aid, and has
    completed Parents as Teachers Foundational training.

In her free time, Amanda enjoys traveling, visiting museums, exploring the outdoors, and trying out new local restaurants.

Victoria Campoverde

Victoria Campoverde is the program manager of Neighborhood House’s Latino Leadership Program. She is originally from Peru and was a licensed high school teacher in her home country.

Her extensive experience within the education sector exemplifies her commitment to education and families.

  • Currently, she serves as the Cultural Liaison between Columbia Heights School District and Anoka-Hennepin School District.
  • In 2008 Victoria began working with The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation’s Latino Leadership Program on adapting their curriculum for the Latinx community. Since then, she has continued working in the Latino Leadership Program after its 2020 transition to Neighborhood House.
  • Coauthor of Education: Our Best Legacy (EOBL), a school success program designed for parents or caregivers with one or more children in middle school. EOBL is part of the Partnering for School Success project (PSS) with the University of Minnesota’s Extension program.
  • Lead teacher and Program Director at Joyce Preschool.
  • A 25 on the Rise, Latino Leader recipient from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2006.
  • Facilitator with different Latino parent programs in the Twin Cities.
  • President of Kuyayki Peru MN Cultural Association.

For Victoria it is important to value ones culture and cultivate ones heritage. She believes in the importance of empowering the community through her work with Neighborhood House and the Latino Leadership Program. During her free time Victoria enjoys dancing.

Winter / Spring Fresh Produce Distributions Events*

(November – May) take place at Metro State University in St. Paul. During each event, we distribute approximately 4,000-7,000 pounds of food to approximately 100 families on average.

For additional questions about the Food Markets, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Event guideline and details: Our fresh produce events are open to everyone!

  • Requirements: Not a thing, just yourself. An identification is not required to attend.
  • Recommendations: You will want to bring your own bags and a cart if you have one.
  • COVID-19: This event is held indoors, masks are encouraged.
  • Please note that your fist visit will require an onsite registration process that will take 5-10 minutes to complete.
  • Parking: You can park in the Metro State ramp parking for $5. Otherwise, street parking is available along 7th St. and Bates Avenue.
  • If available, please consider brining your own reusable bags. On average our visitors take home around 40 pounds of food. 

Location

Metropolitan State University

(Student Center Room)
101 690 E 7th St
St. Paul, MN 55106

DATES – EVERY 2ND WEDNESDAY

FROM JANUARY TO MAY
1/11, 2/8, 3/8, 4/12, 5/10
HOURS: 2:30PM – 4:00PM

 

* Weather permitting – If there are thunderstorms or excessive heat warnings, we may cancel the event and / or events. For more information and event cancellation updates, please call (651) 789-3630.

Still have questions? Kindly email Cassandra Kienbaum, Food Support Manager. 

Summer / Fall distributions* (Summer 2022)

From July to October, all are welcome to come pick up a variety of free fruits and vegetables for family and friends at all four locations. 

The distributions are held outdoors and are farmer’s market style. Events are open to all. No documentation or identification is required to participate.

For additional questions about Food Support, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page

Event guideline and details: Our fresh produce events are open to everyone!

  • Requirements: Not a thing, just yourself. An identification is not required to attend.
  • Recommendations: You will want to bring your own bags and a cart if you have one. On average, visitors will leave with approximately 40 pounds of fresh produce per event. 
  • Please note that your fist visit will require an onsite registration process that will take 5-10 minutes to complete.
  • Parking: You can on the street at most of our locations. At the Wellstone Center, you may park in our ramp.
 

Locations

The Wellstone Center*

179 Robie Street
St. Paul, MN 55107

Dates

Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday
From July to October
7/13, 7/27, 8/10, 8/24, 9/14, 9/28, 10/12
Hours: 1pm – 2:30pm

No event on 10/26

Dayton's Bluff Elementary*

262 Bates Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55106

Dates

Every 2nd Thursday
From July to October
7/14, 8/11,  9/8, 10/13
Hours: 2:30pm – 4pm

Francis Basket Food Market*

1293 East Maynard Drive #410
St. Paul, MN 55116

Dates

Every 4th Monday
From July to October
7/25, 8/22, 9/26, 10/24
Hours: 2pm – 3pm

John A Johnson Elementary*

740 York Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55106

Dates

Every 3rd Thursday
From July to October
7/21, 8/18, 9/15, 10/20
Hours: 2:30pm – 4pm

* Weather permitting – If there are thunderstorms or excessive heat warnings, we may cancel the event and / or events. For more information and event cancellation updates, please call (651) 789-3630.

Still have questions? Kindly email Cassie Kienbaum, Food Support Program Manager.

Food Market Location

Francis Basket

1293 East Maynard Drive #410
St Paul, MN 55116
Phone: (651) 699-0986

Building Hours

Monday

9AM – 11:30AM

Tuesday & Friday

9AM – 11:30AM
1PM – 3:30PM

Highland / Sibley Manor

Food Market Location

The Wellstone Center

179 Robie Street
St. Paul, MN 55107
Phone: (651) 789-2500
Food Market Info: (651) 789-3630

Appointment Scheduling Hours

Monday – Friday

9AM – 4PM

Appointment Scheduling Hours

Monday – Friday

9AM – 11:30AM

1PM – 3:30PM

Wellstone Center Food Market

St. Paul Music Academy

27 Geranium Avenue East
St Paul, MN 55117
Service Connect: (651) 789-3602

Building Hours

Monday – Friday

9AM – 4PM

St. Paul Music Academy

John A. Johnson Elementary

740 York Avenue
St Paul, MN 55106
Service Connect: (651) 789-3602

Building Hours

Monday – Friday

9AM – 4PM

John A. Johnson Elementary

Highland / Sibley Manor Apartments

1300 West Maynard Drive
St Paul, MN 55116
Service Connect: (651) 789-3602

Building Hours

Monday – Friday

9AM – 4PM

Highland / Sibley Manor

Dayton's Bluff Elementary

262 Bates Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55106
Service Connect: (651) 789-3602

Building Hours

Monday – Friday

9AM – 4PM

Dayton's Bluff Elementary

Bruce Vento Elementary

409 Case Avenue East
St Paul, MN 55130
Service Connect: (651) 789-3602

Building Hours

Monday – Friday

9AM – 4PM

Bruce Vento Elementary

Main Campus

The Wellstone Center

179 Robie Street
St. Paul, MN 55107
Main Phone: (651) 789-2500
Service Connect: (651) 789-3602
Food Market Info: (651) 789-3630

Building Hours

Monday – Friday

8AM – 9PM

Saturday

8AM – 4PM

Sunday

NOON – 5PM

The Wellstone Center

Parking

The Wellstone Center Parking Ramp is located on the west side of the main building. The ramp has three levels with one elevator bank. Take the elevator to the first floor and follow the signs towards the information desk.
Parking is free.

Note: Building hours may be adjusted due to holidays, emergencies, program changes or weather. Check our website homepage and social media for possible building hour changes.