A Minneapolis community rallied around a 70 year old woman, known as the “Bright Star” in her neighborhood, when she was facing eviction after her landlord of 19 years decided to sell the property she lives in. Linda Taylor, a beloved neighbor in her community has been known for her heart of gold and her green thumbs for nearly two decades. When she was beside herself after being given two months to vacate, her neighbors stepped in.
Linda had previously owned the house she lived in but sold it when she fell prey to a real estate deal she didn’t understand. She has rented the home for about 15 years and when her landlord notified her the house would be sold, Linda knew she couldn’t afford the $299,000 selling price. After she told one neighbor in her tight knit community, word of her predicament spread fast and the greater part of Powderhorn rallied around her.
She decided to share her struggle with Andrew Fahlstrom, 41, who lives across the street and works professionally as a housing rights organizer. Since he moved to the neighborhood six years ago with his partner, he and Taylor have built a strong rapport. He contacted neighbors to see what they could do to help Taylor.
Given his line of work, Fahlstrom knows Taylor’s story isn’t unique, particularly as the local housing market has skyrocketed in recent years. “So many people are losing housing right now,” he said. “If we actually believe housing is a right, then we need to act like it, because the next stop is homelessness” Fahlstrom said.
After months of demonstrations, the 70-year-old was given the option to buy her home before the end of June. There was no one-size-fits-all approach to the fundraising efforts as the community worked together.. They held an art show, bake sale, there were countless small donations and other community-fund drives to come up with the funds needed along with some pro-bono work by a real-estate agent. The raised the money a full month ahead of the June 30th deadline.
Linda said “Yesterday I went and did the closing for the house, it makes me feel so good, everything that I have given, it’s coming back to me and I want to continue to give. I love this neighborhood.” Taylor said this marks the start of a new chapter and another opportunity to stick around and give back. “When we are sticking together, we are going to be successful in our neighborhood. We’re going to take care of each other.”