Building Community Blog

On January 23rd, a group of AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA, and Lutheran Volunteer Corps alumni volunteered at a build site in St. Paul, putting trim around all the first floor windows and installing underlay (a layer that is put down before the vinyl flooring). 

According to Heather Erickson, the National Service Program Manager at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, TCHFH has hosted AmeriCorps members to engage community volunteers and build, rehab and repair affordable housing across the seven-county Metro area since the program began 21 years ago.

"With their leadership on site and in the office, we are able to engage thousands of community volunteers each year, which increases our capacity to build and repair homes and partner with families through our homeownership and ABWK programs,"says Heather.

 "What does 'home' mean?"

"Home, for me, is a place to go to weather the storm, to return to or to gather with loved ones. For me, home is about sharing and making memories. I can't wait for your families to make new memories here," said Karin O'Connor, a member of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity's Dedications Committee.

It was a snowy evening in North Minneapolis as neighbors, families, staff and Habitat supporters packed into Jeng Vang & Pang Lor's new home to celebrate theirs and Anab Mahamud's home dedications. The partnership between Habitat and the community of North was felt among the guests as they greeted each other, the camaraderie evident, even when they were meeting for the first time. 

Here at Habitat, our primary mission is to create and preserve affordable homeownership in the Twin Cities. Our passionate staff and volunteers continue to work day in and day out, in the hopes of helping just one more family. And we always wish we could do more. 

Each person who connects with and supports Habitat's mission has a different motivation. For some, it may be giving back to the community. For others, it may be their drive to make a difference in the lives of local families. Whatever the motivation, it is always incredibly moving to hear about the impact of Habitat's work in the words of the families that are served by our programs and services. 

By Cassie Paulsen
Twin Cities Habitat Staff

Last week, Becky shared the history of the Homes for All alliance and Habitat Housing Heroes’ role in advocating for affordable housing across the continuum of housing - everything from homeless shelters to supportive services to homeownership. Twin Cities Habitat is excited to again announce its partnership with the Homes for All alliance and our 2016 bonding request:  $130 million investment in affordable housing for Minnesotans!

Whenever I visit the Twin Cities Habitat ReStore, I hear great stories. I hear stories about cool donations, creative volunteers, staff playfulness and the impact the ReStore has when it comes to helping Habitat build more affordable homes. One story, however, is about a surprising and unique program that is changing the lives of four young people and their families. The story is about a partnership between the ReStore and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School that has been funded by Opus Group. 

If you’re anything like me, the word “advocacy” might seem unfamiliar, confusing and downright intimidating. When I first started working at Habitat, the idea of becoming an advocate was something I was ambivalent about. I had the notion that in order to become an advocate, I had to be well-versed in current events, and an expert when it came to politics. But that all changed when I was introduced to Habitat’s advocacy work and Homes for All. They provided the education and resources for me to take action – and made it as simple as sending a postcard, making a phone call, and visiting the capitol with a group of like-minded friends. (Okay, okay, I admit it – I waited until after hours to make my phone call and left a message. But I still did it!) Through these actions, I not only became a Habitat Housing Hero – I was also educated on important housing topics, and witnessed first-hand what a difference every voice can make.

HQ_sqThe staff and volunteers at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity work very hard to tell our story in-person, online and in the media. When we discover misconceptions, misstatements, and misunderstandings about what we do, how we work, how our work impacts communities and, most importantly, which families are able to buy Habitat homes and how they are selected, we want to make sure we set the facts straight.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK Day), is a federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.  The holiday was signed into law in 1983, and takes place annually on the 3rd Monday in January. This year, MLK Day is on January 18th.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'”

To honor Dr. King's work, the holiday has been declared a day of service in the United States. This gives people a chance to come together to strengthen their neighborhoods and communities. As many businesses and schools are closed, families and friends have the opportunity to volunteer together.  

         

This season of giving was extra special this year for two families in Richfield. 

"I am so excited! I didn't sleep at all last night!" Shukri told me as she walked through the door of her new home. Shukri and her husband Hassan stood alongside their soon-to-be neighbors Fardoosa and Maryan, as they spoke about what their new homes mean for their families. 

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