On August 8, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, with the media in tow, went to a homeless encampment near Franklin Avenue and gave out free hugs to the homeless. The Star Tribune defined it as “empathy and inspiration in Minneapolis” in an article on August 12.
If Mayor Frey wants to do something that really matters when it comes to this homeless crisis, he would go after the landlords who put the homeless out in the streets in the first place.
If Frey really cared for these people, he would do something to help them keep their homes, instead of giving them a hug once they’re out in the streets.
Ask anyone who works with the homeless and they will tell you that we have this crisis because of stagnant wages and rapidly rising rents. In no time at all, landlords are raising rents $330, $400 or even $500 – and then driving down the street in $50K vehicles. The mayor needs to tell us if he is seeing this as appropriate and acceptable.
This is beyond just capitalism, there is a deep sickness that drives it all. But, Frey is typical and playing it safe – he doesn’t want to hurt his bright future. Hopefully, he’ll move along and not seek another term as mayor.
Frank Erickson lives in Minneapolis.