Simpson Celebrates CommunityPosted on August 8th, 2019
Residents in Simpson’s two single adult housing communities enjoyed a festive evening of activities at a National Night Out block party in early August. More than 60 Simpson residents and nearby neighbors joined in this community–building event at one of Simpson’s housing sites.
Guests enjoyed a dinner of delicious picnic favorites: hot dogs with all the works, potato salad, pasta salad, watermelon, and ice cream.
Karaoke, bingo, arts and crafts, and a fire throwing show were featured activities — all led by Simpson’s resident volunteers. Ben of Karaoke Joe’s Café had guests and staff on their feet singing along to musical hits. Guests were excited to win water bottles, tickets to local attractions, and other prizes at the bingo station. The fire-throwing show attracted a large audience at the conclusion of the event. Neighbors were encouraged to illustrate “what they loved most about their community” at the arts and crafts table.
Public safety personnel from the Minneapolis Police Department, Minneapolis Fire Department, Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office stopped by to greet the neighbors.
The welcoming, shady courtyard was filled with conversation and laughter. Many guests shared their stories of transitioning out of homelessness to housing stability. This shared space provided a place of connection where guests felt comfortable talking about their struggles and successes.
The block party — the first for Simpson’s Single Adult Housing Program — was planned and facilitated by a team of resident volunteers from Simpson’s housing communities and a nearby Aeon housing community. “We had the idea to do this block party last fall. Our volunteer group of about 12 people has been meeting once a month to plan everything. It’s been great to bring everyone together,” said Daniel, a Resident Planning Committee volunteer.
Laura Willodson, Resident Connections Coordinator, focuses on community building within Simpson’s single adult housing communities by coordinating monthly Resident Planning Committee meetings and organizing regular activities for residents. She views the summer block party as a great example of how Simpson celebrates community and engages the community about the important issues of homelessness. “By doing this block party, we are trying to destigmatize homelessness. We’ve also provided a fun opportunity for people to get to know their neighbors.”