Minneapolis helps fight Red River Flood

Minneapolis employees from Emergency Preparedness, Animal Control, and the Fire Department are providing their expertise and assistance in Moorhead, which faces spring flooding that is expected to become even more serious in the coming days.

Emergency Preparedness Director Rocco Forte is among the group of Minneapolis staffers who are helping in the Red River Valley as the flooding danger grows. Since Monday, three Emergency Preparedness staff members have been in Moorhead helping coordinate evacuation planning. In addition, a Minneapolis Animal Control agent and truck were deployed to Moorhead Thursday to assist in pet evacuation and rescue efforts. Beginning Saturday, four additional Emergency Preparedness staff, including Director Rocco Forte, will also travel to Moorhead. Forte will work out of the Clay County Emergency Operations Center that has been opened to deal with the flooding.

Minneapolis Emergency Preparedness is part of a metro area Incident Management Team that pools together emergency preparedness and planning experts from around the metro who can be called upon to assist in emergency situations. As part of the Incident Management Team, staff from Minneapolis also assisted during flooding in Iowa in 2008.

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Foreclosures continue to fall in Minneapolis

According to city records, the number of foreclosures in Minneapolis fell for the fourth month in a row. November, December 2008, and January, February 2009 have all had fewer total foreclosures than those months had the year before. These numbers are further proof that the foreclosure crisis has hit its peak in Minnesota’s largest city.

While government alone can’t fix the huge market failures that led to so many foreclosures, the City of Minneapolis has been at the forefront fighting this challenge since the first signs of the foreclosure epidemic began more than two years ago. Over this time, Minneapolis’ comprehensive effort to fight the foreclosure crisis has centered on three main strategies: prevention, reinvestment, and repositioning. Preventing a foreclosure from happening is the most effective intervention we can make. It costs far less to prevent a foreclosure than to fix a foreclosed property. Minneapolis has helped hundreds of homes avoid foreclosure by:

  • Working with the Home Ownership Center to hold housing fairs with prevention counselors and direct negotiations with lenders.
  • Using the City website, 311, and utility bill inserts to connect borrowers to prevention counseling services.
  • Providing funding and staff for professional pre- and post-purchase home ownership counseling.

However, even if there was not another single foreclosure in Minneapolis, we would still have a crisis on our hands due to the thousands of foreclosures that have already devastated our neighborhoods. That’s why we need to remain focused on reinvesting and repositioning neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures.