The Alley

These articles originally appeared in “The Alley,” the newspaper for the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis.

A Time for Action

Samuel Beckett’s two-act play Waiting for Godot has been called “the only theatrical masterpiece where nothing happens. Twice.” The title, after all, is also the plot summary. Two vagabonds wait in a field for Godot to arrive, passing the time in various discussions. Although a few other people pass through the scene, Godot himself never …

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Looking Forward

A recent email from HousingLink, a local nonprofit that works on low income housing issues, contained links to news articles with depressing titles like: “Elderly and homeless: America’s next housing crisis” “New report shows Minnesota LGBTQ teens and adults overrepresented in homeless population” “Homeless and facing winter in Minneapolis “Homeless families struggle with impossible choices …

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Keep Calm

American society seems to have become a lot less civil over the years. I know bullies and those who overreact to perceived slights have always existed, but it seems as though people now think it is their patriotic duty to accuse others of committing a moral wrong every time they hear something that offends them. …

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The Wisdom of Powerlessness

I’ve had a horrible time coming up with an idea for this month’s column. I suppose that if that’s the worst thing to happen to me I must be having a good week, but it’s still frustrating. As I’ve watched the Coronavirus pandemic unfold, I’ve been struck by how much hard it is for us …

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Groundhog Day

Back in May, when people had settled into the Covid-19 lockdown, a survey by OnePoll asked Americans how their sense of time was being affected by spending day after day in their homes. The results included: The average American got confused about what day it was five times every week 59% of respondents didn’t even …

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We’ll Get Through It Together

I recently attended an all-day seminar put on by a couple of colleagues from North Dakota. Their organization, Ministry on the Margins, has a similar mission to Peace House Community, although their activities are more diverse than ours. Among other things, hey provide toys to children. Sister Kathleen Atkinson, who runs the agency, shared many …

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Native American Community

After over 20 years of working with social services agencies that serve the homeless, I have seen many different responses to ending homelessness. Some have been more successful than others, while some have benefitted from having good salespeople promoting them as the next big thing. Recently, I have been encouraged by the work of the …

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The Person in There

This December I got to lead the annual Homeless Memorial March, an event that honors those who died in the past year who were either homeless or formerly homeless. It was the fifth time in seven years that I led the March, an honor I received because I carry Luna, a huge “puppet” mounted on …

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