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Marissa Evans

Reporter | Social issues
Phone: 612-673-4280

Marissa Evans writes about social issues for the Star Tribune.

Recent content from Marissa Evans
After being almost tasered by a state trooper during a traffic stop, Sylvia Harris won a settlement.

Minn. racial discrimination cases often hit dead end

Some of the complaints are alarmingly visceral, with shopkeepers hurling racial slurs at people of color and children of color demeaned in public or at schools.
Abdi Warsame helped with monthly food delivery that has become a lifeline for public housing residents deliver boxes of food from East Side Neighborho

In his 'dream job,' Abdi Warsame works to rebuild trust at the Minneapolis public housing agency

The former City Council member wants to preserve and create new housing amid funding troubles and fears of displacement.
Thomas P. Gallagher

Thomas P. Gallagher, career arbitrator and lifelong learner, dies at 86

Thomas P. Gallagher was a man of eclecticism and deep deliberation.He was someone who in one instance could expertly pick the best music to put…
Willmar man killed by stray bullet in his garage

Willmar man killed by stray bullet in his garage

Willmar police said they're investigating but there's no indication the man was the intended target or victim
Hennepin County officials quickly spent $17 million in federal emergency rent assistance last year to help 6,000 households.

'Help is coming': Minnesota prepares for $375 million in federal rental assistance to arrive

Federal aid expected in weeks; advocates urge tenants and landlords to be patient.
President-elect Joe Biden, right, listens to Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, left, his choice to be housing and urban development secretary, during an even

Housing advocates, officials in Minnesota hope for a stronger federal role under Biden

Advocates look to the Biden administration to take on a bigger role as an eviction crisis looms.
Tasha Nins was photographed outside her home in St. Paul, Minn.

Twin Cities librarians fielding more questions about race, social justice in year of George Floyd

Tasha Nins, a children's librarian with Ramsey County Library, said more parents are asking for books on race and social justice.
Jean Hehn had her income tax refunds taken by the state to pay off owed medical debt to Regions Hospital.

Hospitals seize Minnesotans' tax refunds for owed medical debts

Patients, often struggling, caught off guard, others question ethics of policy.
Renters and community members organized by Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia and United Renters For Justice protested on Aug. 1 outside of what they said

Landlords go to court to fight Walz's eviction moratorium

Two apartment owners challenge the state order designed to curb virus.
Medical assistant Samara Yusuf tested a patient in the drive-through COVID-19 testing site Friday at North Memorial Health in Robbinsdale.

State hits fresh record with 5,908 new coronavirus cases

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to renew the peacetime pandemic state of emergency this week, triggering a sixth special session of the Minnesota Legislature.
Quincy “Quinn” C. Blue Jr.

Quincy C. Blue Jr., talented singer and lover of knowledge, dies of COVID-19 at 67

Quincy "Quinn" C. Blue Jr. was a talented singer, but he always thought he could improve.He was the kind of singer who, if he could…
Natasha DaVis and her daughters Natavia DaVis and Natasia DaVis waited in a long line at the Ramsey County Elections office in St. Paul on Monday, Nov

9 things to know about voting on Election Day in Minnesota

Welcome to Election Day 2020 in Minnesota! Congratulations, you made it. We’ve all been waiting for this day for a long time and no matter…
Renters and community members marched in August in support of Minnesota's eviction moratorium.

Minnesota tenants facing eviction during pandemic for police calls, drugs, damage

They're forced out due to police calls, property damage, other problems.
Renters and community members protested in August against efforts to end the state's eviction moratorium. Small landlords say they are growing more ec

Small landlords in Minnesota grow wary as eviction moratorium continues

Rent payments are down, and bills are piling up.
Renters and community members organized by Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia (United Renters For Justice) marched Aug. 1 in Minneapolis.

Minnesota and the CDC have orders that stop evictions. Here's how they work

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced a halt to evictions in March to prevent people from being unsheltered during the coronavirus pandemic. Public health officials and…
“We’re attempting to strike the right balance between the interest of the tenant and the interest of the landlords,” said Judge Thomas A. Gillig

Ramsey County judge holds court above garage, awaits reopening of eviction cases

Officials look to remote access, other "new normal" procedures.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison, shown in March.

More than 1,200 complaints filed to Minnesota attorney general about eviction moratorium

The updated numbers come as tenant and landlord relations have become strained in some cases as the statewide ban on evictions continues.
Mister Smith, 7, and his little brother, Sir’Miles Smith, 4, watered the plants at the memorial in the 38th Street and Chicago Avenue intersection n

Minneapolis delays reopening 38th Street and Chicago Avenue

The intersection won't open Monday as planned as community activists and city officials work to figure out what to do with the area where George Floyd was killed.
The entire Johnson-Nixon family in Minneapolis caught the virus: from left, dad Charles and mom Kirstin were sick in bed; Raphael and Judah, both 13,

People of color hit harder by COVID-19 in Twin Cities, data confirm

Black and Hispanic Minnesotans are far more likely to be infected than white Minnesotans, state data show.
St. Paul City Council Member Mitra Jalali, shown in 2018. Jalali, the sponsor for the ordinance, said its passage “couldn’t have come at a better

St. Paul City Council adopts new tenant-screening guidelines

Council members are hoping the changes will help residents in the renter-majority city find housing, particularly for people of color, those with low incomes and those formerly incarcerated.
Signs that read "No Job No Rent" hang from the windows of an apartment building during the coronavirus pandemic in Washington, D.C. Landlords across M

Landlords grow anxious as Minnesota halt on evictions continues

Gov. Walz's executive order in effect until July 13.

St. Paul City Council moves ahead with tenant screening ordinance

St. Paul proposal would change how landlords can use tenant histories.
Renovation of Elliot Twins is expected to be completed in 2021.

Minneapolis Public Housing Authority to begin Elliot Twins high-rise renovations

Residents will be able to stay in place, Minneapolis Housing Authority says.
Vanessa Anyanso has been raising money and "running supplies for the revolution" to help protesters and other organizations.

For black community, Floyd's death brings more grief and trauma

For Vanessa Anyanso, to be black in America is to constantly mourn lost sons and daughters. It’s a sentiment that Anyanso, a 26-year-old graduate student…
“This moment in time is writing its own chapter in the history of our city,” Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said.

Minneapolis police chief is caught in force's racial legacy

Medaria Arradondo, the city's first black police chief, now finds himself in a harsh national spotlight, the face of a mostly white department that killed another black man.
Kore Grate, center, the owner of Five Element Martial Arts, helps to board up a neighboring business just north of E. 38th Street and Cedar Avenue S.

Before nightfall, Minneapolis residents debated what was safer: staying or going

From hoses to garbage cans, residents across the Twin Cities prepared Saturday for destruction reaching their neighborhoods.
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.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced a halt to evictions in March to prevent people from being unsheltered during the coronavirus pandemic. Public health officials and…
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.