“I’m sure I need it worse than you, because I have nothing.”

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Click on Picture to View Video of Joyce Chineth

Click on Picture to View Video of Joyce Chineth

The home where Joyce Chineth and her family lived in North Minneapolis was almost destroyed during the May 22 tornado. The roof was torn off, and Joyce’s belongings were damaged or destroyed. Broken pieces of drywall cover the floor in her kitchen, and mold is everywhere. Two days after the tornado, the house on the corner of N. 35th & Girard was condemned by the City of Minneapolis. But officials have not returned since then.

Joyce feels abandoned by the system. During the state government shutdown she wasn’t able to submit invoices for providing daycare services for her grandson. During that same time, she points out, many politicians at the State Capitol continued to collect paychecks. “I’m sure I need it worse than you, because I have nothing,” said Joyce.

Meanwhile, she says she read with dismay that The Minnesota Helps – North Minneapolis Recovery Fund handed out nearly $1.2 million in funds to a host of local nonprofits — none of which found its way to Joyce Chineth. According to its website, the North Minneapolis Recovery Fund was created to provide for the short- and long-term recovery needs of North Minneapolis residents affected by the May 22 tornado. Funding has been distributed to over 30 nonprofit and public agencies who aim to address the housing and human service needs of residents impacted by the storm.

Joyce is in the process of accessing a temporary Section 8 voucher to get her into an apartment. But, in general, she says that her calls for help have gone unanswered.

The tornado tore off Joyce’s roof, exposing all of her personal belongings to the elements. They were either demolished or rain damaged. She is in immediate need of furniture, bedding, towels, cooking pans and utensils.

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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