Today's meeting included a "Classification Talk" by one of our newer members, Todd Blomstrom.  Todd is the Director of Public Works for the City of Arden Hills.  Prior to moving to Maple Grove, MN and joining the City's staff in 2019, Todd and his family spent four years living and working in Colorado.  They have been happy to return to MN where their roots are, including Todd's earning bachelors and masters degrees in engineering from the University of MN.  Welcome to our club, Todd - we're very happy you're here!
We were also joined by outside speaker Gabrielle Clowdus.  Gabrielle is a PhD candidate and research fellow at the University of MN, working on the issue of homelessness.  Gabrielle's research says that, in working to solve the problem of homelessness in our cities, we have been operating on the wrong assumption:  That people are homeless simply don't currently have a place to live.  Studies show that most are homeless because they have no social connectedness, usually as a result of early life trauma.  They long for community more than housing.  So setting them up in independent housing frequently fails.  Gabrielle has been involved in  starting an organization called "Settled".  This group builds tiny homes on wheels that are set up in small communities on the grounds of churches willing to have them.  Residents are allowed to use church facilities for showers and communal cooking.  Each location also includes "missional neighbors".  These are people who choose to join the tiny home community and have the required training to help assist community members in various ways.  Woodland  Hills Church in Maplewood is currently hosting a tiny home development on their grounds.  Churches in St. Paul and Forest Lake are working on setting up communities on their grounds as well.