Deadlines are fast approaching to apply. I will personally help anyone in Anoka County connect with the right resources. Please pass it on.

I need your help to make sure we can help as many of our neighbors, friends and loved ones as possible. It is going to be a long winter: let’s keep people in their homes. This is my story why it’s important to help.

My apartment in Columbia Heights.  I often had $50 to my name.

My apartment in Columbia Heights. I often had $50 to my name.

My first apartment was in Columbia Heights. At the time, I was a glossy 18-year-old brimming with optimism and good intentions. I had just graduated from high school in June with acceptance to the University of Minnesota to study Music Performance. I moved in during August with a roommate to share housing costs, convinced my plans for life would happen exactly as planned.

As it turned out, life doesn’t always happen according to plan. Struggling to stay in college and pay my bills, I eventually had to choose. Too proud to admit defeat, I chose to stay independent and work. For years I worked two, often three jobs to stay afloat. I cleaned my apartment building, worked in retail, waitressed—whatever work a determined 18-year-old could find I did. It was common to have $50 to my name from paycheck to paycheck, a bare fridge and worry sitting in my gut like a stone.

But I wouldn’t trade this part of my life for anything. It taught me there is honor in all work and what it means to struggle financially.

In 2020, there are many stressors. During the pandemic, there are countless people and families who are struggling financially like never before. For many in our communities of color, working multiple low paying jobs has always been the norm, and those same neighbors are now also dealing with the reality of high exposure to the virus. Our brightest entrepreneurs have worked hard for years growing their own business and are now faced with the grim conclusion of having to close shop. Demands on our non-profits have increased tenfold, with a significant decrease in their usual funding mechanisms. And others who have been lucky to have stable jobs may find themselves helping loved ones stay afloat. There are lots of reasons for serious financial stress right now. Staying in your home may be one of your biggest worries.

It’s been a long time since I was that 18-year-old struggling to make ends meet. But as anyone who’s been there knows, it stays with you. As a Commissioner today, I have seen the incredible strain on our local businesses, non-profits and residents due to COVID. One of the biggest challenges I have as someone who makes decisions to help people in Anoka County, is how to then let those I work for—the people who live in our community—know about those county level decisions and policies. Policies are designed to help, but they can do that only for those who know about them – and when they work for the people they are designed for. You can help with this.

If you or someone you know are struggling to pay rent or your mortgage due to COVID, please be aware of the resources available to you now (using the links below) and that time is running out to apply for financial support. Apply today.

I will personally help anyone, whether you’re in my district or not, to connect with the right people to help you navigate through these systems. My email is: Mandy.Meisner@co.anoka.mn.us

Here are the links for details. For anyone who is under stress right now, the information in the first link may seem overwhelming. Please DO contact me so we can get you connected with the best people to guide you through the process. If you’re in hardship, we will help you determine if you qualify.

Together, let’s keep people in their homes. I thank you for your help.

Mandy Meisner is the Anoka County Commissioner for District 4 (Fridley, Columbia Heights, Hilltop and part of Spring Lake Park). District 4 is the most diverse district in Anoka County. You can connect with Mandy on Facebook.

This blog is not an official communication of Anoka County, and does not represent the opinion of anyone else on the Anoka County Board, Anoka County staff, or any other body Commissioner Meisner serves on.

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