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Marissa Evans

Reporter | Social issues
Phone: 612-673-4280
Recent content from Marissa Evans
Tenant right advocates including Karissa Stotts organized a vehicle protest in Minneapolis in April.

Minnesota has an executive order that stops evictions. Here's how it works

Tenants, landlords and homeowners alike have reached out to the Star Tribune with questions about how the eviction moratorium works and what rights people have amid the pandemic.
Patricia Forster

Patricia Forster, a teacher and lover of the outdoors, dies of complications of COVID-19 at 83

"She was never sitting around except when she was reading," a daughter said.
Minneapolis City Hall.

Appeals court: City inspectors must enforce code violations in Minneapolis public housing

Appeals court sides with a tenant whose calls about poor conditions went unheeded.
Low-income clients facing eviction don’t always have internet or a smartphone to use remote apps, said Luke Grundman, a managing attorney for housin

Minnesota legal advocates race to prepare for eviction court in COVID-19 world

Tenant advocates fear thousands of evictions will be filed when moratorium ends.
In an interview, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said he was “a little shocked” that his office had received that many complaints of tena

Minnesota AG's office fielded 400 complaints since eviction proceedings stopped

Keith Ellison said he was "a little shocked" that his office had received that many.
Joe Abraham of Pergola Management called an associate after he surveyed a recently vacated apartment at one of his properties Thursday in northeast Mi

With May rent looming, Minnesota landlords are counseling tenants one by one

It comes as unemployment claims soar and rents come due for the second time since a statewide stay-at-home order began.
Relatives and friends including granddaughter Elianne Farhat, center, prayed during funeral services for Elie Farhat, who recently died of COVID-19 at

Spreads of coronavirus exposes racial inequalities in Minn., U.S.

At first glance, the numbers in Minnesota's cases don't appear out of proportion. But officials say the actual numbers of victims in the state's minority communities are likely higher.

Homeowners and mortgage lenders brace for coronavirus aftermath

Forbearance programs offer temporary relief.
A fire in Mound on Saturday left two people injured and up to 75 displaced from their homes.

Mound fire leaves up to 75 displaced, 2 hurt

The blaze occurred at an apartment complex, according to TV reports.

One man shot and wounded at Faribault's Days Inn

One man who was arrested told police he did it in self-defense. Authorities are looking for another man.
Liz Richards, executive director for Violence Free Minnesota, testified during a hearing in St. Paul.

Advocates brace for possible spike in domestic abuse during pandemic

On a recent shift with the Day One Crisis help line, Ellen Gormican took repeated calls from a woman in a car with her children.…
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz

Gov. Walz announces halt to eviction proceedings amid coronavirus

The governor said in a news conference call from self-imposed quarantine that landlords and financial institutions cannot start eviction proceedings during the state's peacetime emergency for the virus.

Two men shot, wounded at Oakdale's Hilton Garden Inn

Two people involved in the shooting have been arrested.

Courts suspend some housing actions amid coronavirus concerns

Housing actions can bring dozens of people through a court house, making it a potential place for the virus to spread.
Tecara Ayler rested her head on the shoulder of Patricia Grant after a June 1, 2018, meeting with Mayor Jacob Frey to resolve housing issues with thei

Minnesota eviction numbers see dramatic decline in past decade

The number statewide has dropped 33% since the foreclosure crisis.
Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon

Minneapolis council member's call to slow repairs on scattered-site housing defeated

Residents' advocacy group had raised concerns about the effect of renovations.
The American Hospital Association has been mostly mum as hospitals sue thousands of patients for overdue bills. (Dreamstime/TNS) ORG XMIT: 1530573

Do you struggle with debt collection from a Minnesota hospital? Tell us about it.

It's the call no one wants to get after a hospital visit: the collection agency. The soaring cost of health care means millions of Americans…
Abdi Warsame responded to questions asked by the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority board of commissioners shortly before they voted to hire him Wed

Abdi Warsame chosen to lead Minneapolis public housing agency

The Minneapolis City Council member received unanimous approval Wednesday to lead the agency.
A public-housing duplex in north Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority is looking to transfer this and about 650 similar properties to

Minneapolis elected officials urge delay in renovation plan for 640 houses

Council member, state senators want assurances no families will be displaced by the "scattered site" work.
In Coon Rapids, Pam MacDonald’s rent went up before she even moved in. The amputee had to get a part-time job.

New Minnesota rule locks in rents for some low-income tenants

The one-year lock, which applies to units getting a federal housing credit, aims to stabilize rents for low-income residents.
Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, center, the author of the ordinance, said that he felt a sense of “wow, we have a serious safety net gap here.�

Minneapolis City Council passes tenant relocation assistance ordinance

Minneapolis landlords who have license revoked will have to pay for tenants' move
A sign indicates a store that accepts the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP, the official name of the food stamp program.

Minnesotans on food stamps would lose under federal proposal for utility costs

Minnesotans on food stamps would lose out if utility deduction changes.
Minneapolis Public Housing Authority chief Tracey Scott said staffers and residents were “devastated” by the fatal fire.

After fatal fire, Minnesota senators press for money for sprinklers in public housing

"Having this issue come to the fore this way is really tragic," Sen. Tina Smith said.
The fire at the Cedar High Apartments, left, has put the spotlight on declining federal funds and the problems of deferred maintenance in public housi

After Minneapolis public housing fire, lack of funding comes to light

Statewide, Minnesota public housing authorities have an estimated $354.9 million in critical maintenance and repairs, according to a report this year.
Steve Meldahl says his days are often filled with checking on his properties, picking up equipment and materials, doing repairs and going to housing c

North Minneapolis landlord prepares for fight with Minnesota AG

Landlord has been cited 1,300 times for code violations, but he says he's not to blame.
City Council President Lisa Bender, center, and other council members speak about the 2040 Comprehensive Plan before voting in December.

Minneapolis eyes permanent policy for mixed-income communities

Developers say the plan for "inclusionary zoning" will make building harder.
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar represents all of Minneapolis.

Groups call for Rep. Ilhan Omar to stop action on Minneapolis public housing plan

DFL committee's letter says residents need more clarity about plan.
New homeowners Stephen Davis and Kaycee Wabasha of the Lower Sioux Indian Community thanked the funding agencies.

Minnesota's affordable housing help gets a $259 million boost

It comes amid mounting pressure to curb low supply, rising rents, lost dreams.
Gov. Tim Walz has made it a goal for Minnesota to become the fourth state to end veteran homelessness.

More than 800 homeless Minnesota veterans finding stability with housing vouchers

Rent voucher is just one part of VASH program.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

Minneapolis City Council committee approves $18 million for Affordable Housing Trust Fund projects

"A landmark day," mayor says after the unanimous council committee vote.

Minneapolis rolls out syringe box collection initiative

Ten containers are being deployed to keep used needles off the streets.
A happy and healthy Joan Phillips said the Pregnancy and Postpartum Support help line was her lifeline out of postpartum depression in 2010. Now, she�

'You're not alone': Pregnancy, postpartum helpline gives Minn. moms stigma-free way to get help

Launched in 2011, the pregnancy and postpartum support helpline has supported 1,200 mothers with mental health troubles.
Stonehouse Square Apartments.

New owner will preserve affordable housing in historic Mpls. building

Commonbond Communities bought Stonehouse Square for $11 million and will renew a Section 8 contract for 19 low-income units.
Adil Albosaad, owner of E and L Supermarket and Deli, lost customers after menthol sales were banned.

New rules hit Minneapolis corner stores hard

Minneapolis hopes to help convenience shop owners who say new health laws, particularly on tobacco, have dried up business.

Group behind Minneapolis black-led credit union vows to press on

The organization responsible for overseeing creation of a black-led credit union in north Minneapolis said it’s unsure when the bank will open but is committed…
Minneapolis City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison, shown in 2018.

Minneapolis council to research rent control before moving forward

A 1984 statute would require voters to approve rent control policy but council members first want to consider if the idea works.
Jon Gutzmann, executive director of the St. Paul Public Housing Agency, said that the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration program was something hi

St. Paul Public Housing Agency gets OK for program to preserve public housing units

St. Paul agency to receive $220 million over 20 years to keep units maintained.
Steve Meldahl, shown in 2014, denied any wrongdoing and said a practice of forcing people to constantly move out would not be good for his bottom line

Minnesota attorney general sues Minneapolis landlord

Keith Ellison says Steven Meldahl failed to repair North Side properties, preyed on low-income tenants.
President Donald Trump, shown in 2018, will hold a rally Thursday in Minneapolis, and the city will bear some of the costs.

Trump campaign threatens to sue Mpls. over rally expense

Tensions between Minneapolis city leaders and President Donald Trump's campaign escalated Monday when the campaign threatened to sue the city for trying to force it to pay $530,000 for security during this week's rally.
Me’Lea Connelly, who founded a credit union to invest in black businesses, led a discussion regarding black economic resistance to a group at the Un

Ousted director of city-backed credit union alleges retaliation

Ousted director says she was forced to fire the CFO because he is white.
Me’Lea Connelly, who founded a credit union to invest in black businesses, led a discussion regarding black economic resistance to a group at the Un

Leaders of proposed north Mpls. credit union terminated amid fraud allegations

Misconduct accusations cloud nonprofit pushing social justice.
The Northern Metals Recycling facility, located on the Mississippi River just south of the Lowry Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis. Families in north Minne

North Minneapolis residents welcome shutdown of metal shredder

But residents also want legal consequences for Northern Metal Recycling.
Barbara Appleby

Former public radio fundraiser Barbara Appleby dies at 57

Appleby was a shrewd fundraiser in the public media world, going to various radio stations nationwide to share best practices.
A group urging the Minneapolis City Council to support former tenants of embattled landlord Stephen Frenz rallied in front of Minneapolis City Hall af

Tenants of embattled Minneapolis landlord get temporary reprieve from eviction

Judge canceled trial, threatened to dismiss most evictions after landlord improperly filed cases.
Renters advocacy groups passed out signs outside Minneapolis Council chambers before a hearing on the tenant screening ordinance in August.

Minneapolis Council passes limits on tenant screening by landlords

City Council members have pushed the ordinance as a way to reduce barriers amid Minneapolis' affordable housing crisis.
Landlord Margie Pierce tries to foster open communication with prospective tenants, but a new ordinance in the works in Minneapolis may change that.

Small landlords fear Minneapolis limits on tenant screening

On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council is expected to vote on an ordinance that would limit the ability of landlords to screen the backgrounds of tenants.

Metro HRA proposes minimum rent requirements for Section 8 voucher holders

270 households would pay at least $50; St. Paul, Mpls. have similar policy.

Minneapolis Housing Authority gets OK to transfer 640 houses to nonprofit ownership

New funds will pay for upgrades at hundreds of houses across the city.
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, left, joined U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, center, UMN School of Public Health's Dr. Rachel Hardeman, right, and other Congressiona

Panelists at University of Minnesota call racial disparities in maternal deaths 'staggering'

The discussion, which is part of a national tour organized by the Congressional Black Caucus, said saving black moms will require radical shift in thinking.
Overflow crowds watched testimony Wednesday for and against the new laws in the hallway outside Minneapolis City Council Chambers as well as inside th

Mpls. tenants, landlords square off over limits on screening renters

A Minneapolis City Council committee approves the proposed ordinance after the packed public hearing
Ray Brooks and his dog, Tori Tornado, a Chihuahua and terrier mix, live in Clare Housing Midtown, near Hiawatha Avenue and East Lake Street.

Mpls. HIV housing community gets federal funding

Clare Housing will get $950,000 to continue helping people living with HIV.

Minnesota Department of Revenue sued over keeping cash after property sales

Revenue Dept. keeps what is left over after forfeiture, 90-year-old claims in court.
The state is seeking to combat homelessness by offering a broad array of new housing support services under Medicaid. In 2018, hundreds of people live

Minnesota launches new housing benefit for poor seniors and people with disabilities

Nearly 8,000 people will receive housing support under the new Medicaid benefit.

St. Paul City Council creates agency to enforce labor rules

With a 6-0 vote, council members established a Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and Education.
The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority oversees more than 6,000 units across the city, including the Elliot Twins apartments, just south of downtown

Mpls. housing authority filed 1,500 evictions in five years

Hennepin County's biggest landlord is rethinking its approach to evictions amid a larger conversation over the fairness of the process and the damage an eviction filing has for renters.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey talked in April about solutions to the opioid epidemic after the findings of a task force of city, county and state leade

Group of officials applauds opioid efforts by local health departments

Hennepin County program for those incarcerated has started treatment for 203 people since January — and officials expect that to rise.
Catholic Charities serves about 2,500 people annually at its Higher Ground shelter in St. Paul.

St. Paul considering zoning change to increase downtown overnight shelters

Amid affordable housing crunch, city officials will consider a zoning change.
“I’m at a place in my career where I can take this risk,” said Greg Russ, Minneapolis public housing director.

Minneapolis public housing official tapped to lead New York City Housing Authority

Starting next month, Greg Russ will take over as CEO of the nation's largest public housing system.
“All I got verbally was ‘something came up’ on my background and I got denied.”
Kadaisha Tolliver, with her daughter Janiylah Little, 3, and n

Debate over tenant background checks heats up in Minneapolis

Tenants, landlords clash over potential Mpls. rule.

45,000 sign up for a chance at rental subsidies in Twin Cities

Tens of thousands apply for Section 8 wait list; 7,500 names will be drawn.
Workers shucked ears at the Minnesota State Fair Corn Roast in 2017.

Minnesota State Fair job fair aims to fill 500-plus jobs. No, taste tester isn't one of them

Want to serve food, take tickets or clean up? The big fair's job fair is July 10.
Pink and yellow lawn signs have begun to appear in front of homes and apartment buildings in northeast Minneapolis.

Mpls. landlords are ramping up campaign vs. ordinances; pushback follows

Other groups are posting fliers around the city in an attempt to counter the Minnesota Multi Housing Association's efforts.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson spoke after a small tour of the EcoVillage Apartments, a community of affordable housing, on Tuesda

HUD's Ben Carson: More should follow Minneapolis and phase out single-family zoning

In his first visit to Minnesota as a federal official, Carson said educating more people and fighting off "NIMBYism" or "Not In My Backyard" will be important.
A light rain fell on the Stonehouse Square Apartments as a car passed by Tuesday.

Minneapolis can enforce law protecting Section 8 holders from discrimination, court rules

City can enforce ordinance protecting tenants from bias, appeals panel rules.
At dusk, a resident of the Hiawatha homeless encampment uses a flashlight to light the dark as she put away her bike before heading into her tent for

Plan to let police shut down Mpls. homeless camps draws opposition

Draft plan would make Minneapolis police the central point of contact with homeless encampments.
Ricky Robinson-Myers, 30, right, who was a long-time resident of the homeless encampment and lived at the Navigation Center up until a few days ago, t

Minneapolis Navigation Center is closing, while some remain without housing

Mpls. shelter was set up to house residents of encampment.
Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender, center, and other council members in December.

Minneapolis considers limiting landlords' ability to screen tenants

Landlords say applicants' criminal, eviction and credit history is relevant.

St. Paul sober-living home sues Anoka and Cambridge over tenant limits

One Love Housing is clashing with Cambridge, Anoka over ordinances.

Immigrant who was refugee, public housing resident, to lead Mpls. public housing board

Sharmarke Issa to lead city's public housing agency's governing board.
A day and a half after fire gutted the lakeside pavilion that housed Lola on the Lake, people still stopped to look at the destruction as inspectors c

Mpls. parks to tear down Bde Maka Ska pavilion after fire

Lola on the Lake plans to use food trucks after ravaging fire.

DFL lawmakers sponsor bill to erase eviction records

The provision has passed the House but faces an uncertain path in the Senate.

Waiting list for federal rent subsidies opens, for first time in years

Section 8 vouchers are so sought-after that people wait years to get them.

Minneapolis seeks input as more employers come under sick time policy

A recent court ruling upheld the city's ordinance designed to protect workers.
“I remember saying they’ll have to take me to a nursing home or carry my body out,” said Barb Lindman, who has lived at Stonehouse Square for th

Tenants in northeast Minneapolis building mobilize to keep their homes

Section 8 residents worry that the sale of the Stonehouse Square Apartments will force them out.
Constance Jackson

Constance Abrego Jackson, former nurse and housing advocate, dies at 80

Constance "Connie" Abrego Jackson was a giver and a fighter.The St. Paul resident was known in her neighborhood for opening her door to anyone in…