How can a government that has the ability to provide security for its people put folks at risk of losing their homes? I’m frustrated that only $30 million was proposed by GOP state senators to offer rental and mortgage assistance for struggling individuals and families.
I am a renter and a young person, and I know that so many people rent their homes. My mother still rents the home I lived in when I was in high school. I could not imagine being forced to leave my home now as a healthy person in my early 20s, let alone as a child.
To prove that we can unite in this crisis, it is in our best interest as a community to support everyone, especially folks who are at risk of homelessness.
Our top leadership in Minnesota should have passed at least $100 million for the Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program. This one small step to ensure safety for everyone is not optional. No one should be forced to leave their homes — in a pandemic or ever.
Zephyr Sheedy, Minneapolis
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I’m angry that Republicans in the Minnesota Senate played political football with the homes of Minnesota’s elementary and high school students. Families are choosing between paying for groceries and paying for their rent. I’m worried that our statewide homelessness crisis will grow when the temporary eviction moratorium ends and hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans are pushed out of their homes.
We know students are most successful when stress is low at home. But kids are already struggling with remote schooling, and they are missing out on celebrations like graduations. The Senate needs to reassure kids whose families rent that they’ll have a home.
Janne Flisrand, Minneapolis
We’re dying. And not from COVID.
Back off, Mr. Attorney General (“GOP chides AG over warnings to bars opening early,” May 18). How easy it is to sit in your office, taxpayer-funded paycheck still arriving regularly, comfortably certified as essential, hurling legal thunderbolts at desperate people who are trying to survive in every sense of the word. Just protecting Minnesotans from a gasping, horrible death, you say. Well, death takes a lot of forms, not all of them biological.
Death for a laid-off low wage worker is running out of money, losing her home and being forced into a shelter or out on the street. Death is watching a small business you built from scratch, struggled and starved for, worked every moment of every day to make successful, only to watch your efforts collapse in a pile of debt and broken dreams, and also knowing that starting over is not in the cards. People die in smaller ways, too — being unable to share last moments with a loved one or witness the birth of a new one, losing companionship while entombed in isolation, descending into deep depression that far too many times leads to that other kind of death.
While we huddle in our blanket forts wishing away the bad bug, the building blocks of our communities are crumbling. Businesses and restaurants are closing forever. Historic places like the Wabasha Street Caves are shutting down. Businesses aren’t people, you scoff. Behind all of these are people whose lives are as deeply affected as those who struggle with COVID-19. The local hardware store is not out to kill you; that’s bad for business. The owner is trying to give himself and his employees a way to stay housed and fed. Are they any less deserving than those demanding an open-ended suspension of societal life in the name of unattainable total safety?
So go ahead, make your virtue-signaling point and throw expensive penalties at business owners who are clearly at the end of their rope. Stand on your principles. Or stand on the backs of the people who are crushed by them.
Jack Sheehan, Eden Prairie
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Concerned about the closure of businesses during the pandemic, the Minnesota GOP points out: “The reality is, when a Main Street business in rural Minnesota shuts down, it hardly ever reopens.”
I submit that a person who dies from COVID-19 never comes back to life.
Michael D. Pyrski, Brooklyn Park
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In response to the article published regarding bars and restaurants opening earlier than the governor’s orders stipulate, I find Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s actions to be commendable. By no means am I happy to see local businesses endure extended periods of hardship and economic trouble, but I am pleased that the state is serious in its implementation and protection of its citizens. This virus has proven to spread in multiple waves, and quite quickly at times, too.
As stated by the New England Journal of Medicine, adhering to the public health measures in the community set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the best way to manage the COVID-19 peak.
I fear that if businesses defy state timelines and open their doors too soon, the peak in Minnesota will only be further escalated rather than controlled. While I agree that local businesses need their protections, I also believe that citizens in this state deserve their own health protections as well. When it comes down to it, I believe that considerations of people’s well-being should come before the longevity of a business.
This is a time of unprecedented challenges that the world is facing, and I am thankful for the leadership that Gov. Tim Walz and other local representatives are demonstrating to help navigate us through it.
Matthew Axdal, Minneapolis
STAY AT HOME
Cheers to vexing ambiguity
Now that the stay-at-home restrictions have been eased by Gov. Tim Walz, I am more confused than ever. You see, as a 62-year-old healthy resident of Minnesota, I am in that very nebulous gray zone. Not quite old enough, not quite sick enough to warrant staying home. Or am I? Do I continue to hole up with my puzzles and books? Should I start inviting fewer than 10 people over to a socially distant cocktail party in the backyard?
I think I’ll head across the border to Wisconsin (“Wisconsin ‘rolling the dice,’ ” May 15). There, I can sit in a bar, take off my mask, drink a New Glarus Spotted Cow beer (available only in Wisconsin) and ask my fellow patrons. Thanks to the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling overturning Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home orders, these folks no longer have to worry. No gray zone here.
Martha Wegner, St. Paul
We all feel older. Is that so bad?
Regarding our propensity for stress and exhaustion from staying at home during the threat of COVID-19 (“Aging in place,” May 18), feeling old during this time is certainly understandable but not accurately framed. Yes, living through a pandemic (or dying) is wearisome and horrible, yet as some of us get on in years we feel a sense of pride in weathering personal and worldly disasters.
The wise among us know that feeling old and worn out due to external challenges is a choice we make. Being a high-mileage citizen does not necessarily equate to debilitation and irrelevance. We have much to offer. Knowledge and maturity have been earned. Sometimes, however, low-mileage citizens will use our longer time on earth as a scapegoat to further their own agendas and feelings of supremacy.
Let’s take this special time not to fret so much but to liberate our old ideas about age.
Sharon E. Carlson, Andover
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