MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Some people who live in north Minneapolis are fighting back after a homeless shelter was planned in their community without their input.

Two weeks ago, city, county and state officials proposed using an emergency CARES Act grant to fund three shelters. One is exclusively for women, inside the Gordon Center in the Willard-Hay neighborhood.

However, one group is saying the community must be involved in decisions that impact their lives.

Melanie Rucker is one of several Willard-Hay residents who say they were not contacted about Gordon Center proposal.

“I found out on the news,” she said. “No one knocked on my door, no one asked anything. I did not receive a flyer, nothing”

District 2 school board member KerryJo Felder says she was told the county door-knocked to speak with residents about the proposed shelter.

“I went up and down this block. On the other side of this block is NorthPoint, nobody on this block had heard about it and that is what set off the alarm,” Felder said.

 These women want their voices heard when it comes to what happens in their community.

“I hate the way that people run over the Northside and they don’t engage people the right way so that we can grow, not only the way that we want t,o but the way that we need to,” Felder said.

Lisa Clemons, founder of A Mother’s Love, has been trying for years to transform the former school into a youth center that would offer mentorship, activities and training for young people.

“This building, that building belong to our kids and it’s time to give them back to our kids,” she said. “Those are the ones 17 to 25 who are engaging in this violence in this community and there is no place for them to go,” Clemons said.

There are three homeless shelters less than a mile away from the Gordon Center, and the county plans to build one of the largest ones, with 90 beds, blocks away near 12th Avenue N. and Plymouth Avenue.

Although they are empathetic, some feel a shelter for women experiencing homeless is not the right fit for this neighborhood.

“We need a different space in a different community to protect our women, “Clemons said.

Willard-Hay residents say not one woman of color from the community was a part of the decision making process with what becomes of the Gordon Center.

We reached out to Hennepin County Commissioners involved with that process, they have yet to return our calls.

Reg Chapman

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