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Southwest Journal | Mediators tackle fast-paced evictions

Christopher Mendez delayed paying rent on his Lyndale neighborhood apartment, just to see what would happen. Rent was due on the 1st of the month. He came home from work on the 6th to find a notice on his door: If he didn’t pay in 24 hours, an eviction would be filed.

“My heart stopped when I saw that notice,” said Mendez, who quickly paid up. “… Every time I come in the building I am very aware of the notices on doors around the 6th and 7th.”

Mendez works with Community Mediation & Restorative Services on a pilot project aiming to mediate potential evictions before they are filed in court. The Hennepin County pilot, which involves the local Conflict Resolution Center at Hennepin & Colfax, comes at a time when the City of Minneapolis is exploring ways to reduce eviction filings. A 2016 city report found that out of more than 3,000 evictions filed in Minneapolis each year, 93 percent are filed for nonpayment of rent. Those tenants are behind two months and $2,000 on average. Two-thirds of the cases end in displacement.

Mentioned: Conflict Resolution Center, Volunteer Lawyers Network, and Minneapolis Public Housing Authority are McKnight grantees.

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Topic: Region & Communities

April 2018