“Not only is it an injustice to us, but this neighborhood.”

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Click Photo for Video of Leonard

Click Photo for Video of Leonard

North Minneapolis resident Leonard and his family live in a house with broken windows near the corner of Knox and Lowry. For a month after the May 22 tornado that devastated the neighborhood, their gas was still turned off. Nevertheless, their landlord continues to force Leonard’s mother to pay rent, under threat of court action. Landlords’ inattention to their properties is among the myriad of needs facing North Minneapolis residents.

Leonard says that the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County and the nonprofits established to serve North Minneapolis have failed him and his family. “The individual aid never came through,” says the 22-year-old. “But the money was given to nonprofits that came here and gave us sandwiches and a pat on the back and then left.”


  • The family needs a pro-bono attorney to handle their landlord dispute. Leonard says his property has needed serious repairs over June/July, including broken windows and no gas service until recently.
  • The family needs reliable transportation. Leonard’s family car was destroyed along with their garage, and insurance did not cover the damage.
  • Winter clothing, fall school supplies, and personal keepsakes were lost in the garage destruction. Supplies and cash donations are appreciated.
    North Minneapolis is a neighborhood in need of solutions. Poverty, lack of jobs, and a housing crisis are longstanding systemic problems that were only magnified by this spring’s devastating tornado. Faced with these serious needs, creativity and innovation solution-makers are stepping forward. The UpTake’s Northside Project, with support from the Bush Foundation, is seeking out the individuals and organizations who are making inspired, positive change in North Minneapolis. But before we can illuminate the solutions, we need to understand the wide range of needs.

    The UpTake is collaborating with MplsTornado.info to find Northside residents still suffering from the impacts of the tornado, thus amplifying the “storm before the storm” of economic disparity. We hope these “Stories of Need” will connect residents with people and organizations who can directly solve their needs.

    To support this series documenting people in need in North Minneapolis, visit: http://mplstornado.info/

    Produced by The UpTake, in collaboration with MplsTornado.info.

    Jacob Wheeler

    In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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