Dear Christopher Golden, Regional MTW Coordinator, HUD,
cc: Senator Tina Smith,
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar,
My name is benjamin melançon and I am writing because public housing residents are demanding and deserve transparency about the 2021 Moving to Work Plan. Please stop any approval of the 2021 MTW Annual Plan until MPHA holds a virtual public meeting to explain their plans answer people's questions. I am a constituent and actively supporting people who are currently houseless, and none of us want more people without housing. We would rather love expanded public housing— instead we find we must join the fight against loss of public housing!
MPHA's Board of Commissioners, Executive Director Abdi Warsame and Deputy Director Jennifer Keogh refuse to hold virtual public community meetings to answer questions and explain the 2021 MTW Annual Plan before they submitted the plan to the U.S Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) for approval. The 2021 MTW Annual plan needs to be paused until MPHA holds at least 2 virtual public community meetings to explain and answer questions concerning the privatization and disinvestment of public housing outlined in “MPHA-2021-MTW-Annual-Plan-Submitted-to-HUD.pdf”.
Why did MPHA fail to meet with public housing residents and the public regarding the 2021 MTW Annual Plan planning process, despite the fact that virtual meetings are easily accessible? (For proof, see MPHA July 22 Board Meeting Packet, notice that there were no public meetings planned between the release of the draft plan and the final hearing and approval: https://mphaonline.org/about/policies-and-publications.)
In addition to explaining their plans to privatize more public housing properties, MPHA must clarify confusing new policies and practices they plan to adopt that will impact the housing stability of public housing residents. MPHA's response to public input on their Draft 2021 MTW Annual Plan is inadequate, as they did not provide the actual comments, they received from public housing residents and allies from Minneapolis to HUD, choosing instead to misrepresent and distort input from their own residents and not answer questions from residents. MPHA failed to submit our written comments and also rejected calls from residents, neighborhood organizations, and the broader public to hold public meetings to inform residents and the public about this important document. Here are some of many questions we have about this plan, MPHA refuses to answer: https://tinyurl.com/Questions-for-MPHA-2021-MTW
Therefore, i am joining many people in insisting that HUD's MTW Coordinator Christopher Golden, Senator Tina Smith and Congress Ilhan Omar must meet the following demands to hold MPHA and protect the rights of public housing residents and rights for the public to access public information:
We are asking for The Department of Housing and Urban Development ( HUD) to pause the approval process for Minneapolis Public Housing Authority’s 2021 Moving to Work Plan, send it back to MPHA, and not approve the 2021 MTW Annual Plan until MPHA holds at least the required 2 virtual public meetings. MPHA submitted this plan to HUD without properly informing public housing residents and residents of Minneapolis. There is no record of 2021 MTW Annual Plan public meetings held at MPHA website, board minutes or meetings agendas.
We are asking you to demand the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) to hold at least two public meetings to inform residents about the 2021 Moving to Work plan, answer questions, and extend the written comment period for the 2021 MTW.
In September 2020, MPHA failed to submit these written comments as they were to HUD. MPHA needs to hold meetings to respond to these comments and answer questions.
Interpreters and translators hired by MPHA need to be objective and interpret what is said and written accurately and effectively.
If MPHA and HUD try to push back and say they have met their legal requirements, how is that possible when public housing residents continue to be undermined and kept in dark about these massive plans that will impact their lives and housing stability for decades. Would you allow this to happen to your own home?
Public housing residents demand respect, transparency, and rights to access plans that impact their lives.
Stop any approval of the 2021 MTW Annual Plan until the most affected are heard and it keeps people safely housed!
resident of North Minneapolis
Supporting housed and houseless neighbors with Minneapolis Northside Mutual Aid, https://opencollective.com/mpls-northside-mutual-aid
MPHA 2021 MTW Annual Plan: https://mk0mphaonlineorajvvy.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/MPHA-2021-MTW-Annual-Plan-Submitted-to-HUD.pdf.
MPHA 2021 MTW Annual Plan Public Review and Comments
Questions MPHA needs to answer regarding 2021 MTW in public meetings
(Lightly edited letter from Defend Glendale & Public Housing Coalition on ActionNetwork)
Defend Glendale & Public Housing Coalition website: https://www.dgphc.org/