Notwithstanding its rich cultural heritage in areas such as the arts and athletics, North Minneapolis has one of the lowest median incomes, and some of the lowest property values in the city due to historic Redlining and racially restrictive deeds. The resulting segregation of the predominantly Black population beginning in the early 20th century was intensified in the 1960s-70s by construction of roads around the neighborhood that isolate it from downtown and other adjacent areas, and the I-94 freeway that separates the residential area from the river. At least two forms of wealth-building can combat these effects: homeownership and business entrepreneurship.
The American Dream of homeownership is challenging to low-income people because they typically require developing savings, difficult when your income barely covers life’s necessities. Upfront costs can be provided by non-profit agencies in a variety of ways, including reducing land costs by building with land trusts, subsidizing construction costs, and assisting with collectivizing to share land, construction and maintenance costs among a larger number of people.
In North Minneapolis, businesses are collaborating to create a commerce-friendly climate, so that potential entrepreneurs can get job training, find affordable rental space and raise the necessary capital to start an enterprise. Organizations like NEON and West Broadway Business and Area Coalition are developing incubator spaces for up-and-coming companies to plant roots in the neighborhood.