Like most of us, Greg Mure never thought he would be homeless. After struggling with a series of unexpected challenges in 2006, he found himself sleeping on a park bench in South Minneapolis with his belongings in bags. The next morning, when he awoke, he saw that his bags had been ripped open, and several men around the park were wearing his clothing. One of them, seeing his confusion, commented, “You haven’t been homeless before, have you?”
Taking him under his wing, this gentleman taught Greg some strategies for surviving on the streets. In addition to getting a hot meal with the gentleman, he found his way from the shelter to Alliance Housing and a room at 2011 Pillsbury. Seventeen years later, he has upgraded his accommodations, but he still calls his Alliance building home. Greg is the longest-continuing tenant in any Alliance building.
To this day, Greg still remembers the feeling of getting his key. He recalls the comfort he felt when he was able to plug in his phone, to take a shower, and wash his clothes. Having stable housing allowed him to piece his life back together. He was able to secure a job working security detail at the University of Minnesota. There, he wound up escorting Brett Favre to the press box, Queen Latifah to her dressing room, and Mick Jagger to the stage.
All those encounters, however exciting, paled in comparison to the pride he felt when he was able to buy a car. Greg uses the vehicle around town, but he also uses it as a food shelf volunteer. He drives boxes of food to neighborhood food shelves, and he gives rides to the people carrying those boxes back to their homes.
Not long after finding his place on Pillsbury, Greg was asked to serve on the Alliance Board because of his ability so share his lived experience related to our mission. While on the board, Greg thoughtfully presented tenant perspectives, even when it was difficult. Sharing his perspective pushed Alliance’s leadership to wrestle more thoughtfully with tricky issues like rent increases, eviction policies, and expansion plans. He respectfully informed board members of the impact that these changes would have on residents, while also understanding the need to chart a sustainable path for the organization. Greg has aspirations of buying his own building to donate to Alliance to create another opportunity for stable housing.
Today, Greg feels far from that day he woke up on a park bench in south Minneapolis. He takes great pride in his apartment, and in the work he has done to fix it up. The hallways are freshly painted. He upgraded the bathroom. He even found a place for his piano—he’s a self-taught pianist and plays with and for his neighbors. Alliance may have created the housing, but he has truly made it his home.