About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

11 Snapshots of a cold night on the streets in MN

Thank you to Monica Nilsson for continuing to shine a light on people experiencing homelessness. Last night Monica spent the night documenting life without a home in the Twin Cities. It was 30 degrees below zero last night. While most of us screeched at the thought of running to the car – Monica met people sleeping in train stations, trains and transit stops.

What can you do to help?

  • Please ask your legislator to support the Homes for All Coalition ask of $15 million for the Emergency Services Program this legislative session. The current budget for the entire state is $844,000 for shelter and crisis services. (Find your reps.)
  • Call your elected officials at each level of government, asking how they are a part of making sure that people have access to shelter you around?
  • Donate time or money – find a cause that touches your heart at Volunteer Match or Hands On Twin Cities
  • Contact Monica with any questions or ideas monicamnilsson@gmail.com

Here are the stories:

  1. 4:12am Union Depot, St. Paul: overflow shelter at Union Depot in closes
  2. 2:27am Mall of America: The safest place for a lady
  3. 2:30am Mall of America: The apple of your eye
  4. 3:02am Mall of America: Warm thoughts
  5. 4:07am Union Depot, St. Paul: Social worker with a badge and gun
  6. 4:18am Union Depot, St. Paul: The Gray Hairs
  7. 4:19am Union Depot, St. Paul: Minnesota’s workforce
  8. 3:30am Hilton Hotel, Minneapolis: Young, pregnant and schizophrenic
  9. 5:02am Twin Cities Metro Transit light rail: The Winter Carnival Prince
  10. 1:50pm Sunray Shopping Center, St. Paul: The cost of suffering
  11. 5am the floor: No More Heroes

4:07am Union Depot, St. Paul Social worker with a badge and gun: 5 of 11 snapshots of a cold night on the streets in MN

Despite people equating homeless with criminal, many homeless people seek areas in which law enforcement are present. Homeless people are far more often prey than predator. I am grateful for the kindness I witnessed by law enforcement. However, do you believe the best use of skilled protectors is to pass out mittens and granola bars, sometimes en masse, because we don’t plan to shelter people rather create a pop-up when someone deems need? How much did the contents of these photos cost for one night?

Will you hear me? A Night on the Trains with Monica Nilsson, Mitra Jalali Nelson and Angela Conley

A more reflective post may follow, but for today I wanted to archive Monica Nilsson’s trip with St. Paul City Council Member Mitra Jalali Nelson and Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley on an overnight train ride through the Twin Cities, where many, if not most of their fellow transit riders were spending a homeless night in place that is warm. It may not be safe, it may not be comfortable, it may not be restful but on January 5 in Minnesota, warm is something.

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) wrote about the trip. Mitra and Angela both posted impassioned videos about her time on the train. People are starting to listen.

Will you hear me? Originally posted by Monica Nilsson on Facebook

Some people say nighttime prayers before they go to bed. Some people pray before they go to sleep, bed if you’re lucky. Some wonder if anyone is listening. I’m grateful that St. Paul City Council Member Mitra Jalali Nelson, Hennepin County Commissioner-Elect Angela Conley and the Star Tribune’s Chris Serres were willing to spend time overnight on the trains to listen. Metro Transit Police estimate 300 people seek shelter each night as shelters in the region are full-with Metro Transit’s Homeless Assistance Team Sgt. Brooke Blakey.

Following so much attention after homeless encampments formed in St. Paul and Minneapolis last fall, people without shelter wonder if new encampments must form this spring in order to be seen and get help. An equal number of people were riding the trains as created an encampment along Hiawatha Avenue. They’re still seeking safety as they close their eyes on the trains. Hiawatha is sheltered. A regional response is necessary and I am grateful that Hennepin County Commissioner-Elect Angela Conley and St. Paul City Council Member Mitra Jalali Nelson, along with the Star Tribune’s Chris Serres, were willing to cross borders overnight, as people in need do, to see what most don’t.

Hennepin County’s most recent one night count of unsheltered people found 523 adults. Heading Home Minnesota’s 2018 one night count found 1066, a 40% increase from 2014. I hope other people with different kinds of power will follow Hennepin County Commissioner-Elect Angela Conley and St. Paul City Council Member Mitra Jalali Nelson along with the Star Tribune’s Chris Serres in standing in the midst of suffering as they did overnight. A sober invitation but I’m quite sure a transformative one. You can contact me at monicanilsson2016@gmail.com and I’ll walk with you.

Please see those who are without shelter, hear them or their advocates when you can’t see them and believe that they are out there, walk your feet to the center of the issue and help. We need you. This fall, the SAFE Group: Sheltering All Facing Endangerment and the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, proposed a $15 million dollar ask to our state legislature this year for Emergency Services Grant program funding. The budget has been $844,000 for the entire state for years. The good news is the Homes for All Coalition has adopted this proposal. Join us in the coming months as we advocate at not only the state level but the county and city levels to see that people have a safe place to close their eyes. Thank you to Hennepin County Commissioner-Elect Angela Conley, St. Paul City Council Member Mitra Jalali Nelson along with the Star Tribune’s Chris Serres for helping build public awareness one step at a time.

Thank you to St. Paul City Council Member Mitra Jalali Nelson and Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley for joining unsheltered Twin Cities residents in losing sleep overnight. I’m also grateful that Ramsey County Commissioner Trista Matascastillo, State Representative Aisha Gomez and former State Rep. Erin Murphy reached out to see more with your own eyes. A regional response is needed to addressing people without shelter and you are beginning that effort with action.

Healthcare is the bootstrap that helps people who are homeless

The following video contains photos from the Mall of America and the light rail overnight, along with my (Monica Nilsson’s) testimony at a late night Capitol hearing.

The Minnesota Legislature is considering refusing Medical Assistance to low income Minnesotans based on their employment status. Enrollees, most of whom are already working and make less than $16,642​ a ​year, would be required to work or volunteer 20 hours a week and report their activity. If this activity does not occur each month, or the new administrative system does not properly report it, the state would cut them from healthcare, causing a cascade of painful unintended consequences. Here is why I join hospitals and 100 other entities in opposing HF3722 and SF3611. It advanced in committee last week despite hours of testimony in opposition and will be heard again Wednesday, March 28th at 7pm in the House Health and Human Services Finance committee.

Homelessness in Minneapolis: A Mayoral Candidate Forum Sep 26

When: Tuesday, Sept. 26
7–8:30 p.m. (doors at 6:30 p.m.)

Where: First Universalist Church of Mpls
3400 Dupont Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408

First Universalist Church, with assistance from the League of Women Voters, will host a forum for Minneapolis mayoral candidates focusing on issues of homelessness on Tuesday, Sept. 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Moderated by Monica Nilsson, a local advocate for the homeless, the forum will address the presence of homeless individuals in the community, sleeping in public, community livability, access to shelter, and interaction with resources.

Candidates will be encouraged to demonstrate a depth of knowledge that shows their ability to be a leader in multi-agency efforts to address homelessness.

The Star Tribune has reported that the 3,125 homeless people identified in Minneapolis this year represent an overall increase in homelessness by 231 people over the last 10 years. How did this happen, despite significantly  intensified efforts to combat homelessness?

The Office to End Homelessness reports that the number of persons identified as chronically homeless in Minneapolis dropped from 919 in 2009 to 360 in 2016. What issues are at the base of chronicity and how should they be addressed?

What considerations are most important to the mayor’s leadership role in addressing homelessness?

Co-Sponsors: First Universalist Church, Street Voices of Change in collaboration with the Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness, BEACON Interfaith Housing Collaborative, Simpson Housing Services, The SAFE Group, Peace House Community, Our Saviour’s Housing, St. Stephen’s Human Services, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, and Hats for the Homeless.

Night on the train – a glimpse of homelessness in Minneapolis

Homeless in Minnesota is a collection of stories, images and thoughts on what life is like on the street in and around Minneapolis and St Paul as documented by homeless advocate Monica Nilsson.

On Tuesday May 1, 2017, Monica rode the train in Minneapolis from 10:00pm to 7:30am to see what few of us see. She ventured out again on Tuesday May 30. Check out posts from her latest travels:

To learn more about life without shelter – please join us for a listening session on the lack of safe shelter on Wed, June 7, 4-5:30pm at St. Olaf Catholic Church in Minneapolis.

7:30am Seeing what’s pretty: A night on a train

We met in the Mall of America bathroom this morning, the only one I found unlocked in the past 10 hours of traveling from Minneapolis to St. Paul to Bloomington over and over on the Metro Transit light rail with people who sought shelter and were turned away after 120 shelter beds closed in Hennepin County because the colder months have passed. They also traveled from Dakota, Anoka and other counties who lack adequate shelter.

You learn not to drink water when you are without shelter. She’s new to being homeless. She asked if the Mall of America is open now. She’d like to see the pretty things. Have you seen Nickelodeon Universe when only maintenance and homeless people access it? It’s still pretty.

Can you see from my light rail photo who the homeless people are?

And so it begins, another day where those without shelter and those who just came from it start a new day, hoping to be surrounded by the pretty things: no panhandlers, no rough sleepers, no poverty. What would I like to see? What’s honorable not what’s pretty. Let’s stop reaching around the hard stuff and acting on the easy charity. We need to identify new shelter sites throughout the metro area and fund them, sheltering people until our infrastructure includes an adequate amount of housing for all.