Welcoming Community: Housing Equity

Think of the place you call home. For many that memory may begin with a house or an apartment; a physical building in specific location. Although home is certainly not only defined by the physical space, that building, or lack of one, can define much of our access to opportunities, health, social relationships, and more. Historical inequities in housing have limited opportunities for community members from minority groups. Avenues to home ownership, and access to the generational wealth that comes from it, have been defined by unjust laws and policies across the United States. In many communities, being BIPOC meant you were systematically excluded from living in a specific neighborhood or qualifying to own a home at all.  

A recognition of the past and continuing inequities in housing can help local governments, community members, and organizations advocate for just housing practices that provide access to affordable and respectable housing for all. Housing equity is a topic that should be explored by community members in moving toward understanding unjust systems that lead to inequities. 

Welcoming efforts around housing equity might include:  

  • Elevating the voices of underrepresented community members in housing decision making 
  • Encouraging education and broadening access to avenues of building credit  
  • Supporting inclusive zoning policies that are not discriminatory or based on race or income 

Access to stable, affordable housing is essential to equity across the Northland. Visit the Resources to Explore section to learn more about some current initiatives and stories around housing equity in the Northland. 

“I must remind you that starving a child is violence. Suppressing a culture is violence. Neglecting school children is violence. Punishing a mother and her family is violence. Discrimination against a working man is violence. Ghetto housing is violence. Ignoring medical needs is violence. Contempt for poverty is violence.” –Corretta Scott King 


Continued Learning 

The goal of the Welcoming Community program is to provide continued opportunities for learning and connection related to topics relevant to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our region. In our monthly emails, we highlight a specific equity topic and provide resources related to the monthly theme. 

The theme for the month of October is Housing Equity. When exploring the learnings in the Resources to Explore section, we ask that you consider the following question: 

“In terms of housing equity in northeast Minnesota, where have we come from, where are we now, and what steps do we need to take to reach an equitable future?” 

Resources to Explore 


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Keynote Announced! Second Annual Equity Summit on November 10 in Virginia, MN 

Northspan will be hosting the second annual Equity Summit, Belonging in Northeast Minnesota, on November 10 in partnership with regional and statewide collaborators. 

The keynote speaker for the 2022 Equity Summit is Suriya Vijayasarathy, MPP. Suriya Vijayasarathy is a changemaker who empowers individuals and organizations to lean into discomfort with curiosity and courage. He provides both peers and senior leaders with concrete skills and strategies for advancing equity by building authentic relationships with diverse communities and developing internal cultures of belonging. With a background in social work and a Masters of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Suriya has led organizational change efforts across multiple sectors, including government, education, and nonprofit organizations. Suriya believes that leadership starts with listening, and that the most effective change begins by lifting up the voices of underrepresented communities.

The equity summit is an opportunity for community leaders, businesses, educators, creatives, workforce and economic development, government, health care, philanthropy, and YOU to engage around themes related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and forge a more inclusive future in northeast Minnesota. 

The summit, scheduled for Thursday, November 10, will be held in-person from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Iron Trail Motors Event Center in Virginia, Minnesota. The cost is $20 per person. 

Register Here

The summit is part of Northspan’s Welcoming Community program with the goal of increasing belonging of underrepresented community members and trust between people from different backgrounds and lived experiences in northeast Minnesota. 

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Welcoming: In the News!


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Welcoming Events Across the Northland  

Many initiatives are ongoing to support Welcoming across northeast Minnesota. Listed below are some in-person and digital opportunities to explore and participate in! 

Do you know about a connection opportunity we could highlight in an upcoming newsletter? Submit proposals to alewis@northspan.org by November 2, 2022. 

The Lyceum Movement – Itasca Lyceum
October 24, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Rapids Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, MN
Learn more here 

AEOA: Share the Warmth
October 24-26 (multiple times)
AEOA Central Office Building in Virginia
Learn more here  

Damiano Center: Community Connect
October 27
Damiano Center, Duluth, MN
Learn more here 

Toward One Wisconsin 2022 Regional Summit
November 3-4
University of Wisconsin-Superior, Superior, WI
Learn more here 

FREC: Overcoming Racism Conference
November 11-12
In-person and Online
Learn more here 

The Lyceum Movement – Duluth Lyceum
November 28, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Bent Paddle Brewing Co. in Duluth, MN
Learn more here


Ongoing Events 

CSS: Alworth Peace and Justice Series-Resilience: Urgent Conversations Local Voices
(multiple dates)
Mitchell Auditorium
Learn more here

Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging

Classes, Workshops, Trainings

Learn more here

 International Falls Rotary: Welcoming Community Initiative Speaker Series

Learn more here

Entrepreneur Fund: Stride 

Learn more here

MCCU: Financial Education Webinars 

Learn more here 

Banzai Financial Wellness Library 

Fond du Lac Language and Cultural Center 

Wednesday Events, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

Learn more here

Minnesota Women’s Press Changemakers Alliance 

Learn more here 

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Invite a Friend  

If you know others in your community who are interested in participating with Welcoming Community programming, please share this page so they can learn more & Click Here to join our email list. 

Contact Northspan’s Welcoming Community Program Coordinator Amber Lewis at alewis@northspan.org with any questions.