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Letter from Cardboard Box City Organizers

<r author of “lol homelessness,”

We appreciate your concern for the homeless men, women, and children of Minnesota. In response to your comments written on the Cardboard Box City posters, we would like to educate you a little bit about our event.

The original idea for our cardboard box city came from Joe Johnson, a formerly homeless man who came to speak at Carleton last year at homelessness forum. Cardboard box cities have been held around the state and country to provoke discussion around issues of homelessness and show politicians that their constituents care. This year the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, Homeless Against Homelessness and MPIRG are working in conjunction to put on this event.

One component of the Box City is a sleep-out and box house making competition.

Obviously, one night in a cardboard box does not simulate the experience of the 9,300 homeless every night in Minnesota. Especially since many of the homeless are in places like shelters, domestic violence shelters, cars, or on a friend’s couch. We will not be subject to harassment, violence, job discrimination, stigmatization by our communities or arrest that people face on the streets. We are sleeping out merely to make a statement of our commitment to seeing the end of homelessness in Minnesota. We want legislators to repeal the Lurking Ordinance that allows for cops to ambiguously arrest those on the streets, and to pass the Housing Solutions Act, which would create more affordable housing in Minnesota.

We believe that to effectively organize around these issues, personal connections must be made and a community must be formed. The box house making competition is a means of creating more time for discussion, motivating more people to sleep out, and making the event more fun. A fun activity that gets people talking about homelessness issues is just one way to accomplish this goal.

This event is meant to provoke discussion, so we really hope to see you there.

Cardboard Box City organizer

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