The Alley

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

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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Getting Involved

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” -Edmund Burke I first encountered that quotation when I read Bob Geldof’s autobiography Is That It? Geldof had reached the part of his story where his band The Boomtown Rats couldn’t get any of their songs on the …

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They aren’t just “The Homeless”

“The Homeless”, a title that should only describe a person’s living situation, but often describes so much more. On the one hand, being part of the homeless population automatically means sleep deprivation, instability, the daily challenge of finding what you need and so much more. Unfortunately, that is only the objective side of homelessness, the …

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