Good People Doing Good Things — In Linda Taylor’s Neighborhood

Today I have just one good people story, but the story has lots ‘n lots of good people and is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.  And at the end, I have an idea that I need your help with!

It’s amazing what people can do when they work together to help someone.  Linda Taylor, at 70 years of age, was given two months’ notice from her landlord to vacate the Minneapolis house she has lived in for nearly two decades.  It wasn’t that she didn’t pay her rent, or that she somehow violated the rental agreement for the house she has lived in for 19 years, but the owner was eager to sell the house and take advantage of skyrocketing housing prices.  The landlord,  Greg Berendt, was asking $299,000 and told Linda she could buy the house, or otherwise be out by January 31st.

Until 2020, Linda had worked for a local non-profit organization, but was laid off due to the pandemic.  Since then, she has struggled to make her rent payments, using some of her savings, and with help from family plus a government program started during the pandemic to help keep renters from being evicted.  But there was no way Linda could buy her home for $299,000!

Now, Linda was a beloved neighbor in her Minneapolis community, often referred to as the “bright star” of the neighborhood … everybody loved Linda.  So, when word got out, the neighbors, about 400 of them, decided to step up to the plate.  The Powderhorn Park community decided it would not allow their neighbor to be displaced.  Says Andrew Fahlstrom, who lives across the street from Linda …

“We have an active local neighborhood group because we’re within two blocks of George Floyd Square.  The infrastructure was there, the communication line was there, the neighborhood relationships were there.”

First, the neighbors wrote a letter to the landlord, urging him to wait on eviction and start negotiations with Taylor so she could buy the house. It was signed by about 400 neighbors and hand-delivered to Berendt.  The landlord responded that Linda could remain in her home until June 30th, and he also lowered the price to $250,000 – still out of Linda’s budget, but a bit better.

Another neighbor, Julia Eagles, took the initiative to organize such things as an art show, bake sale, pro-bono work by a real-estate agent, countless small donations, and other community-fund drives to come up with the money … and they did!  By May 31st, they had raised enough money for Linda to purchase her house!  Said Ms. Eagles …

“I don’t want anyone getting displaced or priced out of the community. We all believed collectively that we were going to do what it takes to keep Miss Linda here. So many people know and love this woman.”

In just four months, the people of Powderhorn Park raised $275,000 for Taylor — enough to buy her home and cover some needed repairs. Any additional funds will go toward utility payments.

Says Miss Linda …

“I knew my neighbors loved me, but I didn’t know how much.  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.”

I had an idea the other night that I wanted to share with you and maybe get your help.  I know we all have been on the receiving end of good people before – friends, neighbors, family members, and sometimes even strangers.  I certainly have throughout my life!  My own most recent ‘good people’ encounter took place over a period of several months after the onset of my heart problems. I was unable to do much more than walk 10 steps without passing out, so my beautiful neighbor, Maha, would cook extra each evening and bring over enough supper for me and my family.  She did this for months, and in fact even now she sends food over at least once a week, despite the fact that she’s having her own health issues at the moment. She also brought me flowers, balloons, chocolates, and other little special treats, and either she, her husband Ali, or one of their three sons came to check on me every day!

Every week, I write about good people, some doing huge great deeds like traveling to Ukraine to help people find housing, or cooking for the displaced refugees, and others doing small things, like shoveling an elderly person’s walkway, rescuing an abandoned kitten, or buying a meal for a homeless person.  And these stories inspire us, remind us that there are many good people in the world, far more than the not-so-good ones we see on the news every night.  But I was thinking … I would love it if you guys shared stories of the good people who have crossed your paths recently.  You know … if your neighbor helped you carry your groceries in, or a stranger stopped and helped you change a flat tire, or a local teen carried your weekly trash to the curb.  Little things mean so much.

So, no pressure here, but if you’d like to tell the story of an encounter you’ve had with a ‘good people’ recently, I would love to hear and share your story in next week’s ‘good people’ post!  If you’re interested, let me know in the comment section and then you can email me your story!  Again, no pressure at all … it’s just something I thought might be fun to do!