It’s up to us to stop displacement


Painting of Miss Linda by Cori Lin

Our neighbor, Miss Linda Taylor, is facing the immediate threat of displacement from her Powderhorn home of 18 years. As her neighbors, we are clear: We will not allow her to be intimidated and displaced by a landlord who already owns far more homes than they need!
Miss Linda is a longtime Southsider and respected elder with a quick wit and a huge heart. She is known for miles around for her warmth, talkative nature, and for looking out for her community. Ask anyone who knows her, and they will beam with gratitude for her presence in our neighborhood. Her children and grandchildren know her home on 36th Street near 10th Avenue as a place of refuge and joy.
On Jan. 29, Miss Linda was handed a notice of lease termination by her landlord. The letter told her she has to be out of her home by April 1, 2022, giving her two months to leave her home of almost two decades. Miss Linda says her landlord told her that he no longer wanted to deal with rent payments from RentHelpMN, the federally-funded pandemic rental assistance program. The statewide RentHelpMN program ended abruptly in January, leaving Miss Linda and tens of thousands of Minnesota renters facing displacement during the ongoing pandemic with skyrocketing rents and housing prices.
Miss Linda bought her single-family home in 2004 from Todd and Tracy Cushman. The following year, her home went into foreclosure. Miss Linda says that she was approached again by Todd Cushman, who encouraged her to sign what she understood to be a waiver to save her home. Without realizing it, Miss Linda says that she signed over the deed to her home. It later came to light that Todd was a key player in an extensive mortgage fraud scheme that affected at least 45 homes ( He was found guilty of several felony theft by swindle charges on Nov. 7, 2008. The criminal cases against him and others had been making their way through the courts since 2005.
After the Cushmans had all of their rental licenses revoked across the city in 2010 (, Miss Linda says she received notice that Commerce Bank had started foreclosure proceedings and was “in the process of selling the property to Greg Berendt.” According to city licensing records, Greg and his wife Jill own at least 12 other properties across the metro that are home to 38 families.
Miss Linda and her neighbors say that Greg Berendt has been aggressive and disrespectful with her and hasn’t kept up on needed and requested repairs on her home. She says the harassment got especially bad after she reported needed repair issues to the City of Minneapolis. Miss Linda worries that Greg will continue to not respect the notice requirement to enter Miss Linda’s home, and will bring more unmasked people into her home during the pandemic.
For almost two decades Miss Linda’s rent money has been used to pay off a house that she was supposed to own! Like all renters, her own money has been used to cover all of the housing expenses, like the mortgage and the property taxes. In essence Miss Linda has been contributing to building up someone else’s wealth, paying over $200,000 in rent over the years at her home, in addition to the utilities.
Miss Linda also used her own financial information to qualify the house for free government and nonprofit upgrade programs like weatherization/insulation and updates to the home that would allow her to age in place.She says that she has also done many repairs on her own because of the inaction of her landlord, including buying her own appliances. Her landlords stand to profit big off of the care, upkeep, renovations and love that Miss Linda has put into her home.

Enough is enough

Ward 9 City Council Member Jason Chavez has pledged to do everything he can to keep Miss Linda in her home. As a community we cannot allow Miss Linda or any renters to be evicted now that the eviction moratorium has disappeared. We must act to protect our neighbors with the same energy we put into mutual aid and community projects after the murder of George Floyd. We must acknowledge that, like the air we breathe and the food we eat, housing is a basic human right. We must stand up to change housing from a profiteering commodity to a dignity that everyone receives.
Please join with neighbors across the Southside and sign onto the community letter to Greg and Jill Berendt asking that they immediately:
• Stop the harassment of Miss Linda, including showing up at her home unannounced.
• Rescind the Notice of Lease Termination and stop the clock on displacement.
• Enter into good faith negotiations with Miss Linda to transfer the ownership of her home.
Add your name, get involved, and donate to the cause of permanently purchasing Miss Linda’s home at
Together, we can stop displacement. Together, we will keep Miss Linda in her home!

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