Program Spotlight: Northside Community Support Program

Dec 22, 2022

People Incorporated’s Northside Community Support Program (NCSP), located in North Minneapolis, is a free, membership-based program with drop-in hours that connects community members to emergency food and basic needs items, employment support, therapy, and so much more. It’s a resource hub that welcomes neighbors with open arms.

“Clients value having a community here where they can get support and where people accept them,” said Emily DeSanto, Mental Health Practitioner for NCSP.

NCSP organizes many community events and activities, including some hallmark outreach events with community partners – for example, their now annual Winter Gear Giveaway, a collaboration with the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center and NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, provided 427 individuals (225 of them children) with necessary cold weather gear at no cost this winter. In the warm season, they host an annual community cookout, and they also organized an informational and interactive Mobile Health Day this year that served 80 people.

“This area has higher health disparities than others in Minnesota. We are located in a food desert where there’s a housing shortage, and there are high medical disparities as well,” said Program Manager Joan Weatherspoon. “There are people in North Minneapolis with diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity; you name it. We work to provide information and resources to reduce these disparities and improve the quality of life for the individuals we serve.”

Activities like Bingo and Coffee Convos allow clients to connect with one another, and groups focused on artmaking, journaling, and fitness give individuals an outlet for mental and physical rejuvenation. NCSP also aims to increase access to the resources needed to live a dignified, happy, and fulfilled life, and they frequently connect clients to haircut appointments, free hot meals, nutrition education, gardening space, and even the opportunity to celebrate birthdays. NCSP’s offerings are vital, and the program is actively changing the lives of community members in need.

“What makes us valuable is that we’re consistently here for clients when they need help,” said Weatherspoon. “We’re just trying to make the most impact we can.”

In 2022, NCSP served 166 community members in its North Minneapolis neighborhood. They will continue their program’s momentum in 2023 with staff going mobile and working from Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center Libraries once weekly to further reduce barriers for clients spread across the North Metro. They are also creating a Client Committee to amplify client voices and encourage client-centered care, one of People Incorporated’s trademark approaches to mental health support. NCSP is a huge asset to the community, and you can support the program by engaging in a basic needs drive with your organization or business (contact Jeff DeSutter, jeff.desutter@peopleincorporated.org, for more information) or by making a donation today.