Movin’ On Up

Recent Articles

Five steps to that first home

Want to buy your first home? Maybe you’ve got some cash saved for a down payment and maybe even recommendations for real-estate agents from savvy friends. But have you cleared your credit report, hired a tax adviser, or weighed FHA financing compared with a conventional mortgage? Sam Williams, 31, has taken all three steps in a yearlong quest to buy her first home. “This whole experience has taught me that it’s important to have your financial act in order,” said Williams, a manager in Minneapolis, MN. Continue Reading →

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Gift yourself with self-compassion during the holidays

By Lisa Ferentz

Contributing Writer 

The holidays can be a wonderful and cozy time of year. We reconnect with those long forgotten warm sweaters that have waited patiently for us in the back of our closets. Everything we eat and drink is pumpkin flavored. We start to look longingly at our fireplaces, and even anticipate the first snowfall. But for many people, the shift out of daylight savings and other harbingers of fall and winter create feelings of anxiety, loneliness, anger, and depression. Continue Reading →

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Children’s lives at stake in fight against obesity

Farm to Head Start among many nonprofit programs making progress

This past summer, Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties’ (CAPRW) Head Start Program partnered with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy to establish a pilot program known as “Farm to Head Start.” Modeled after the successful Farm to Table movement, the Farm to Head Start Program is designed to connect young children to locally grown farm-fresh food, educate children and families about proper nutrition, and support area farmers who are producing healthy choices such as fruits and vegetables. On Sunday, November 30, CAPRW’s Farm to Head Start Program will be highlighted during the local CW 23’s television program “Our Issues Twin Cities.” This particular episode will focus on the monumental problem of childhood obesity, which most experts contend has reached epidemic levels. As part of this program, CAPRW Head Start staff will address the importance of introducing small children to healthy eating options, the challenge of delivering farm-fresh produce to low-income neighborhoods, the logistics involved in getting food from the farm to the table, and the widespread benefit of such a program to the community. These issues are significant, especially when considering the role that poverty and race play in the scourge of childhood obesity. Both nationally and locally, statistics reveal that while the obesity epidemic affects all ages, genders, and racial groups, low-income populations and communities of color are disproportionately affected by this trend. Continue Reading →

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Getting out of our own way

Doing better requires that we confront our self-defeating behaviors

It’s hard not to notice the plight that Black people are in across the nation — well, across the world. However, let’s focus solely on America. Black people are always near the top, if not number one, in every statistic for something bad. We really do not need statistics to point these things out. Just go on Broadway, Lake Street, Payne, Arcade, Penn, Rice Street, etc. Continue Reading →

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Cutting costs during the holidays

You know “stuff” isn’t what makes the holiday season truly fulfilling. Yet each year, despite your best intentions, you end up shopping too much, rushing too much, stressing too much…and savoring the moment too little. Here are 10 suggestions to help you maximize your joy by making small, deliberate changes in the way you spend (or don’t spend) your money this holiday season

Set a gift-giving budget 

By the time we reach adulthood, most of us have learned that giving and receiving unneeded gifts is an enormous waste of money. Sit down (perhaps with your spouse) at the beginning of the season and develop a holiday budget. Draw names for extended family members. Continue Reading →

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Community Action in Ramsey-Washington demonstrates transparency, accountability

I wish to utilize this column to share some important information related to the operations and oversight at Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties (CAPRW). The recent shutdown of Community Action of Minneapolis has given rise to an unprecedented level of scrutiny toward Minnesota’s other 25 Community Action agencies, including CAPRW. As part of this enhanced scrutiny, the local media have identified a number of critical areas of concern, which include the use of personal loans, agency travel expenses, and board governance. In early October, our Finance Committee Chair engaged our independent auditing firm, Wipfli LLP, to establish agreed-upon procedures in order to conduct “a deeper dive” into the business operations of CAPRW, specifically as it relates to our agency’s travel expenses, loan receivables and executive compensation. These procedures were designed in a manner to prohibit any possible influence or input from CAPRW staff. Continue Reading →

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Overcoming barriers to employment

Over the last several decades, the number of Minnesotans throughout the state with some type of a criminal record has increased to an estimated one million, or one in five. Some estimates put it even higher. Minnesota has the eighth highest percentage in the nation of its citizens incarcerated or currently on some type of supervision — in 1982 it was one in 98, in 2013 it was one in 26. Many Minnesotans are turned away from employment for which they are qualified even though their record may be unrelated to the job. In addition to this are the high racial disparities in Minnesota’s criminal justice system, combined with racial disparities in other areas of opportunity that make the impact of these records particularly devastating for African American, Latino, and Native American job-seekers. Continue Reading →

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Study says nearly half of Americans are living in or near poverty

Are things really that bad?  
In a recent Minnesota Spokesman Recorder column discussing how the federal poverty rate is measured, I cited a 2013 study by the Oregon Center for Public Policy regarding the application of its Family Budget Calculator to determine the “basic level of economic security” for families. This alternative instrument designed to more accurately measure poverty suggests that 44 percent of Americans, nearly 140 million people, currently experience economic insecurity. In essence, this means that close to one-half of all Americans are living in or on the edge of poverty. The research findings of the Oregon Center for Public Policy are further bolstered by a 2013 report from Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Living Wage Calculator. Continue Reading →

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Making the rent now more difficult for most in state

Rents less affordable than in 2000
Finding an affordable place to rent has gotten more difficult, and not just in the Twin Cities, a new set of county-by-county housing profiles finds. Minnesota Housing Partnership’s (MHP) “2014 County Profiles” reveal that affording rent is now more difficult for renters than it was in the year 2000 in all but three of Minnesota’s 87 counties. Rising rents and falling incomes for renters are to blame. Since 2000, Minnesota’s median rents have risen by six percent while incomes for renters have fallen by 17 percent. This pattern plays out in most of the state’s counties, with median rents rising in all but six counties, and renter incomes falling in most. Continue Reading →

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