August 8, 2013

EPIC General Membership Meeting Minutes 08-08

August 8th, 2013, 6:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.

East Phillips Park Cultural & Community Center, 2307 17th Ave S.
EPIC web address:
Office: 2536 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55404

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers,
but most of all the world needs dreamers who do.”

Board Members Present Carol Pass, Mary Gonsior, Linda Leonard, Earl Simms, Rosie Cruz, Aisha Gomez
Board Members Not Present: Jennie Bjorgo, Ali Micalin, Sherdl Kordian
EPIC Members: Brad Pass, Laura Dale, Rob Czernik, Luce Guillen-Givins, Anna Zabinski, Kim Haden, Margaret Kirkpatrick
Guests: Shirley Heyer, Don Greeley

MOTION: Meet as a committee of the whole. (BP, CP) Passed.

6:45            Introductions:

·       Greetings and Introduction
·       Approval of Agenda. Passed with addition of Midtown announcement, and move up Crime concerns to follow NNO Report.
·       Approval of Minutes – tabled pending clarification of minutes concerning committee of the whole vote (p. 3) and the discussion of the motion on page 4.

6:55            Announcements:
·       Community Garden Day-this Saturday, 24XX 17th Avenue. Meeting is 10-11 am, open house 11-1 pm, refreshments.
·       Clean Sweep- October 12th, first meeting yesterday; this is about our 15th year; give away 400 t-shirts each year (kids design); this is a great community event.
·       Rafael Gonzales (Waite House) is organizing a Phillips Music Festival on Saturday, Aug. 17th Noon – 8:00 pm. Hosted by all the tenants in the building.
·       Midtown Crime Meeting, next Thursday at 6:30 pm at Steward Park; meeting will mostly be devoted to discussion of neighborhood crime. All from surrounding neighborhoods are welcome.

7:00            National Night Out Report

Various residents reported on neighborhood celebrations of NNO events. We had many NNO Block Parties, but only  some asked for reimbursement. Seven reimbursements came to $437,92.

7:15            Crime Concerns

Police were able to attend about a dozen events in Phillips before the rain came along. There were about 1,400 events scheduled for NNO.

1.     What strategies will we as citizens employ to address these concerns, and partner more effectively with police?
2.     We have decided to invest in one or more crime cameras; this will take some research and probably won’t be decided tonight.
3.     Discuss or list problem properties.

Problem properties
Progress-Van is gone from Lake Street!
·       2900 16th Avenue – problem properties and undercover are looking at this one.
·       2916-18 17th Avenue – reported incorrectly last month as 2816-18. DG recruited a block club leader; thinks this is a building full of men only; DG will follow up.
·       1808 E. 26th St. – two drive by shootings in May; not one issue reported since end of May. Tenants probably moved; no problems since.
·       2527 18th Avenue – State of MN owns the property, in foreclosure; Henn. Cty getting an injunction – Alex Mehralian is not allowed to live there. If he moves in, Police will move him out when the court issues the order. Residents asked what to do if he moves in; can’t the state post “no trespassing”; residents want the county or state to secure the property (board it); residents reported there is a new car in the back; no point in reporting because there is nothing that Police can do until the judgment comes in.
·       Stop N Shop/– DG met with Capt. Trejo and he has met with owners; Stop N Shop has been very cooperative and will post “no trespassing” signs; they are willing to call police. Businesses are required to keep property clean within 100 feet from the store. CP is writing a Letter to Gas Station Owner.
·       Salvation Army – DG met with SA management and he is upset about the prostitutes in the parking lot, but reported that he was out checking every day. He is unwilling to add a fence, but agreed to check lights to make sure they work. DG working on getting to the bottom of who owns the building and getting “no trespassing” signs posted.
·       DG suggested we invite Capt. Trejo to a meeting.
·       Greenway hot spots: Columbus, 12th and Bloomington; Greenway task force are working on this, bringing together city, county etc., and getting commitments from everyone to improve lighting and camera situation there. Statistically, the crime rate is very low. Violent crimes are typically late at night, not during daytime hours.
·       2605 17th Avenue – new house has been abandoned; opened up and has people inside. DG says that neighbors need to call 9-1-1; the police can board the building if used for criminal purposes.

Issues with 3-1-1
Reporting housing issues through 3-1-1 who reports this to inspections. LL reported that renters have trouble reporting these issues because of language barriers. 2-3 years ago the city attorney decided that inspections cannot order an inspection unless the landlord approves, or the tenants report a problem.

Community Cameras
We are thinking about getting a camera for the Stop N Shop/Salvation Army area, but the city doesn’t have a Wi-Fi hot spot there; JD agrees that the Wi-Fi

7:50            Housing- Change in income cap.

Housing grants aren't moving. Spread the Word! Income cap was too low. The income guidelines are now 100% of the HUD median income. We found that the cap was too low, and many people are supporting extended family and as a result, we are excluding many people who need this funding, but don’t qualify. A second factor contributing to ineligibility is any late mortgage payment within the previous year. Distributed our housing brochure, that still shows the 80% of HUD median income. BP will try to print stickers to place over this information so we don’t need to reprint brochures.

We also are learning that these funds are being processed like any other loan. This means there are other qualifications that must be met, as would be with a typical loan.

Q and A:

Who is turned down, and why?
·       They won’t let this money go out if you are in arrears on your mortgage, or could lose your house.
·       You have to have one year of timely mortgage payments.
·       You must be current with your taxes.
·       You must have a “loan-worthy” credit rating.

Foreclosures. Workshops are a good place to start to get information to get starting in reversing foreclosures. Dawn Williams, PRG’s foreclosure counselor, can meet with individuals and assist with folks who are struggling.

Home purchases. EPIC is looking at and trying to get a handle on foreclosures, so we can assist with matching foreclosures with buyers who wish to live IN these homes. Investors are snapping these up, so you must act quickly.

8:00            Development Concerns:

Daycare at 2830 Cedar Avenue. The project doesn’t seem to be moving forward. EPIC has done everything we can to hold this property for the developers, but with neighbors complaining, we need to check up and make sure there is progress being made.

New Housing possibilities. CP asked PRG to look into building single family homes on some of our vacant lots. We found some funding to help with the gap between building and selling these homes, which is now $85,000. This has made it almost impossible to find funding.

Greenway Heights. Laura expressed concerns about the development planned on the Greenway Heights site. She only learned about the project a couple months ago, even though she has lived in her home across the street for years. She dropped off a letter for EPIC voicing her concerns.

8:10            Youth Sports-  

Board recommended MOTION: EPIC recommends that we support Ali Micalin’s soccer program up to $1,000 based on EPIC’s collaborative funding criteria, and provided that there is no duplication in the program budget by other agencies, along with a signed memorandum of understanding with the Park Board. Passed

Funding for EPIC individuals, Groups and Collaborative Organizations (Policies and Procedures addition)

8:20             Blueprint for Equity Report: Discussion of the progress on the previous motion.

CP distributed a copy of a letter she wrote under her signature as District 7 Commissioner of NCEC, to the 7 neighborhoods. Bancroft neighborhood is actually holding a meeting as EPIC is meeting, to

MOTION: EPIC requests a calendar of these public meetings, including who will making the presentation/survey. (LL, MK) Passed.

Midtown Greenway Survey
MK distributed surveys to EPIC residents and noted that surveys are also available in Spanish.

8:45              Adjournment