NorthEast Suburban Chapter report - John Slade

The NorthEast Suburban chapter is in a stage of growth. We’ve long had strength in White Bear Lake and Mahtomedi, supporting both the Hoffman Place and Piccadilly Square housing. We’ve been able to take part in the comprehensive plans and to serve on the Rush Line and Gold Line/Gateway Corridor Community Advisory Committees.

One of our local chapter activists is Deacon Brenda Hoffman at Ascension Episcopal Church in Stillwater. Deacon Brenda helped develop affordable housing in Princeton, MN, and saw the need in Stillwater as well. Like many suburban or small town communities in Minnesota, some in Stillwater have wanted to think that homelessness and housing instability are problems in other communities. But the long-term efforts of the MICAH chapter, as well as the growing realization of how badly the free market serves the less-wealthy end of the income spectrum, have brought more voices to the table.

One of these is Trinity Lutheran, the church just down the hill from Ascension Episcopal, and the newest MICAH member church. A large ELCA congregation, their pastors are a part of the St. Croix Valley Ministerial Alliance, which brings together leadership from around the Stillwater area. Several of the congregations returned again and again to the issue of housing and homelessness. This has resulted in adding Stillwater to the MICAH NorthEast chapter schedule for every third meeting.

The NorthEast Suburban Legislative Breakfast was held at Ascension, in early 2019, and served to begin some movement. The mayor of Stillwater, Ted Kozlowski, was there and talked of a time in his youth when he and his mother spent some time living in the car and in his mother’s office so they could stay in the Stillwater school district. He also indicated that there was space for Stillwater as a city to do better.

This October 15th, along with Ascension, Trinity, and other congregations, MICAH will be co-sponsoring an educational event at the Stillwater Library. We will be working on deepening our connections to each other and the work, and focusing our efforts on making change. The event will be at 6 PM at the Stillwater Library at 224 3rd Street North.