Foundations for Writing

A St. Cloud State Site for English 191

December 17, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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Stereotypes of Homelessness

We are the housing group. The topic that we decided on for our remix is homelessness. In our remix we highlighted what really causes homelessness. We also address the stereotypes and misconceptions people have. We hope that after watching our remix you all will have a better understanding and a newfound respect for those that are homeless.

 

December 9, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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“Here’s how Stearns is working to improve our jail system”

This St. Cloud Times’ opinion piece includes helpful data on the presence of homeless in the prison population, collected as part of a Community Action Team’s work. Here’s some information about the Team and why it was formed.

Because of the high number of inmates requiring some sort of medical care, Stearns County, along with CentraCare, Central MN Mental Health Center, St. Cloud Police Department and Mayo Clinic Ambulance, created a Community Action Team. The team’s main goals were to cut down on emergency room visits and jail bookings by identifying individuals who were frequently picked up and brought to either facility, mainly to be reminded to take their medications or to refill their prescriptions.

And here’s a piece of the data the Team collected in the first year of its collaboration:

Stearns County’s Community Corrections Division has seen positive results from six clients in the first year, which included:

  • Four of six were homeless in 2017, with five of the six in some sort of housing a year later. The remaining person ended up serving jail time for their offenses.
  • Five of the six were unmedicated and received intervention by the team. Five of the six were receiving medication management to make sure they kept up on their medications.
  • Average client spent 15 days in detox prior to intervention and zero days after the intervention.
  • Prior to being assisted by the Community Action Team, individuals had 103 police contacts and that dropped down to 28 after the intervention started.
  • These individuals averaged 331 days in jail prior to and 308 after intervention. These numbers don’t seem as good, but one individual had a 104-day sentence at the end of the year review and another had a pending 111-day civil commitment, which skewed the numbers. But at a cost of $212/bed per day, dropping 23 days equals $4,876, which also means a savings to county taxpayers.

You’ll find the full opinion piece at https://www.sctimes.com/story/opinion/2019/12/06/heres-how-stearns-working-improve-our-jail-system/2624432001/.

December 9, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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“Shades of Gray”

Linda Larson, who teaches in our department, wrote this interesting opinion piece for the St. Cloud Times, focusing on unpacking assumptions about Christian organizations’ and their treatment of LGBTQ+ communities, including assistance provided to the homeless. Here’s a key section of the opinion piece:

This leads me to my question of whether or not I should support the Salvation Army or, for that matter, any faith-based organization that doesn’t perfectly align with my personal beliefs. The answer is a muddled shade of gray.

If the answer is that I should never support anything faith-based, I’m guilty of discrimination. Why should I lump all Christians together? Thinking of my Catholic heritage, I admired Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa of Calcutta, for her dedication for caring for the poor. Dorothy Day, founder of The Catholic Worker, worked tirelessly for social justice. These two women were heroes, but they belonged to a church whose official position conflicts with my support of the LGBTQ+ community.

Here in Central Minnesota, Catholic Charities in St. Cloud distributes free food and financial assistance. Last Sunday’s St. Cloud Times editorial stated that Catholic Charities helped 53,000 people last year.

The Salvation Army tends to the homeless in St. Cloud.

If the boycott bankrupts the Salvation Army, then the Salvation Army would leave St. Cloud. If we expand a boycott to all faith-based organizations and it’s successful, Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services would shut down. It wouldn’t change the fact that Christians who live in this area would help people.

And here a link to the full “Shades of Gray” piece in the St. Cloud Times.

December 2, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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“Homelessness Is Mankato’s Hidden Issue”

The AP picked up an article on homelessness in Mankato that Brian Arola originally wrote for the Mankato Free Press. Here’s the lead:

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — The word “hidden” comes up frequently when you ask experts about homelessness in Mankato.

Homelessness here, say those who work with the people experiencing it, doesn’t fit the stereotype of a disheveled panhandler asking for change on a street corner.

Here, it looks like a man taking refuge in a public library knowing he’s less likely to be shooed away there. Or a family searching for stability in a shelter after losing everything in a house fire. Or a teen crashing on a friend’s couch because home isn’t safe.

The general public might not see examples of it unless they know where to look. Its lack of visibility shouldn’t be mistaken for nonexistence.  https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/minnesota/articles/2019-12-02/homelessness-is-mankatos-hidden-issue

The article is a really good snapshot of homelessness in Mankato and the area’s attempts to track and address the issue. The extended example makes the process of how it happens understandable; understandable, too, is the difficulty of “Getting a grasp” on the number of people experiencing homelessness.

November 3, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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“Lack of formal shelters for homeless in rural Minnesota”

Today’s St. Cloud Times article on rural homelessness in Minnesota is worthwhile reading. Here’s the lead:

MARSHALL (AP) — Cortney Zukauska doesn’t let herself get too comfortable. Ask her what she seeks five years in the future and her answer is simple.

“Surviving,” she said. “And raising my babies the best I can.”

Pictures of her six children line the walls of the house she’s renting here. Being a mother is Zakauska’s first priority, and securing this home for her children four years ago was no small feat.

“It’s really the first stability — I mean real stability — they’ve had,” she told Minnesota Public Radio News.

You’ll find the article here: https://www.sctimes.com/story/news/local/2019/11/02/lack-formal-shelters-homeless-rural-minnesota/4123235002/.

October 13, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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“100 mannequins representing homeless youth in the community go on display in St. Cloud Saturday”

This St. Cloud Times article describes an event sponsored yesterday by Pathways 4 Youth to raise awareness of youth homelessness in St. Cloud and the services available to these youth through the organization. Here’s the lead of the article, which also talks about how youth experiencing homelessness participated in the event and how people can help address this issue—a national issue that also affects our community and those in it:

More than 100 mannequins in blaze orange sweatshirts were set up along Minnesota Highway 23 in St. Cloud on Saturday.

The display — organized by Pathways 4 Youth — represented the number of youth experiencing homelessness on any given night in Central Minnesota.

“A lot of people in the community just don’t know,” said Tim Wensman, board chair and president of Pathways 4 Youth, in an interview with the Times on Tuesday. “We want to try to reach that audience by being on Division, having an outdoor experience, allowing people just to drive in and spend 10 or 20 minutes just to learn about it”
(https://www.sctimes.com/story/news/local/2019/10/12/mannequin-display-reveals-youth-homelessness-central-minnesota/3909862002/).


A group of more than 100 mannequins represent youth experiencing
homelessness in Central Minnesota on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 along
Minnesota Highway 23 in St. Cloud. (Photo: Jenny Berg,
jberg@stcloudtimes.com)

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