Building Community Blog

Last week, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity hosted a home dedication in Frogtown for three families who will be moving into their homes over the next few months. Despite the evening’s bitter chill, the celebration was filled with warmth as the homebuyers expressed excitement and gratitude, site supervisors shared construction stories, and sponsors reminded us why supporting Habitat is so important.

girl_studying-at-schoolHaving a Habitat home can provide the safety, stability and opportunity that kids need to thrive, and serve as the foundation for building a brighter future. The following are results from a recent Homeowner Impact Study conducted by Habitat for Humanity Minnesota and Wilder Research. This statewide study explores the connection between Habitat homeownership and a homeowner’s quality of life, including: safety, health, education, social connectedness, family interaction and personal well-being, and economic situation.

The Interfaith Youth Day of Service is an annual event held in the Twin Cities on Presidents Day; this year the event was held at Augsburg College. It’s an opportunity for 7th-12th graders to come together from all different religious and cultural backgrounds to learn about different traditions, and deepen their connection with their own faith. The event aims at building bridges between faiths. Over 100 youth from various parts of the metro area came together for this event.  

By Anne Meyers-Welsch
Constituent Management Assistant, Twin Cities Habitat

To mark the start of the Lenten season on Wednesday, February 18, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has updated a Lenten calendar from Habitat International that you can use personally, with your family, or in your congregation.

A few years back, the housing market collapse hit North Minneapolis hard, leaving houses abandoned and many residents in financial despair. As if that weren’t tough enough, a tornado tore through the area damaging homes and trees along the way. Since then, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has been working in the Northside through its Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI). We have focused more homebuilding and repair efforts in the Jordan area and have worked to engage the community and better understand the needs of the neighborhood.

Among others, the Jordan Area Community Council (JACC) has become a key partner for our work in the neighborhood. We collaborate on outreach and facilitate discussions with neighbors to align Habitat's goals with the goals of the community. Together, we aim to determine what residents like, where improvements can be made, and what perceptions there are about living in Jordan.

Written by Julia Brauchle and Becky Engen

Each year, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity works with tens of thousands of volunteers to help build brighter futures for local families. Every volunteer brings a different skillset and knowledge level, but each of them comes with a readiness to serve. Our staff works with volunteers ranging from youth to retirees, and Habitat partners with both individuals and larger groups. Over the years, we've heard a variety of myths about becoming a Habitat volunteer, and we thought we'd shed some light on a few of the ones we hear the most often.

If you’re a ReStore regular, prepare to be shocked! The New Brighton ReStore has been totally redone and it is dramatically different than it was before. Now it is an even better representation of the mission of Twiin Cities Habitat for Humanity, and, hopefully, our business will grow so we can help Habitat build more homes for low income families.

If you walk into the ReStore today, you’ll feel more like you’re walking into a showroom than a cluttered recycling warehouse. Inside the front door you’ll discover furniture and room vignettes that make it easier for you to envision what our merchandise might look like in your home.

As President of Twin Cities Habitat, Susan Haigh’s job is to work to “Eliminate poverty housing from the Twin Cities and to make decent, affordable shelter for all people a matter of conscience.” That’s the mission of the organization, but it’s more than that for Susan.  Talk to her for only a short time and you’ll understand it's link to her deep desire to lift families and to give them a chance to build better futures. It’s not just a job for her; it’s a journey of the heart that started 40 years ago.

Susan’s first job as a lawyer was with the Metropolitan Council. Her responsibilities included land use planning and advising the Council’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority. The work taught her about issues surrounding affordable housing in the Twin Cities, and moved her to make it one of the main focuses of her career. Since then the federal government has deemphasized its involvement in affordable housing, transfering the challenge and burden to the states. That didn't slow Susan down. (Later Susan would return to the Metropolitan Council to serve as its Chair. She recently left that position to focus on the Habitat mission again full time).

 Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is celebrating its 30 year anniversary this April, and one high school in the Twin Cities has been volunteering with Habitat for half of that. Cretin-Derham Hall has been involved with Twin Cities Habitat for 15 years. Cretin-Derham Hall is a Catholic high school located in St. Paul and puts a great emphasis on service in the community. 
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