Building Community Blog

Anticipation and gift giving just go hand in hand, don’t they? As a mom, it has always been a magical moment for me to have found that special gift for one of my daughters and wait patiently as I anticipate her reaction when she opens the gift—the joy I feel in watching her open the gift amidst shouts of glee is for me the best gift of my holidays.

This fall I attended a Habitat home dedication ceremony on a lovely block in White Bear Lake.

Guest Post By Susan Buechler
Twin Cities Habitat Staff Member

Many hands make good work. That’s always been our belief at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity (TCHFH), whether it’s guiding 750 volunteers a week as they raise walls on new homes or joining the Homes for All coalition -- 150+ local housing groups – to bring citizens’ voices in support of affordable housing to the State Capitol. Habitat couldn’t do the work we do without the backing of many local foundations, both large and small. It’s a symbiotic relationship – our work helps foundations advance their missions.

"It was a volunteer experience I've never seen!" site supervisor Zack Zoul spoke of the incredible 200+ volunteers that worked to build Mimi Birhanu's beautiful new home. 

The home dedication for this house was filled to the rafters with love as volunteers, congregation sponsors, neighbors, supporters and Habitat staff spoke of the impacts of the build for the family, their community and their own lives. 

Guest Post by Cassie Paulsen- Advocacy Associate

This year, Habitat Housing Heroes found a new way to advocate for safe, stable, and affordable housing:  they gathered valuable data and listened to the stories of community members experiencing homelessness as part of the Wilder Foundation’s Homelessness Count, one of the most comprehensive studies concerning homelessness in the nation.

“We’re home!” 10-year-old Nadine and her 3-year-old sister Nama shout as they pull up to their Habitat home in Brooklyn Park. Their mother, Rosemary, smiles at the girls’ excitement – even after several months in the home. Their journey to homeownership covered 8,600 miles and almost five years – so the joy is understandable. 

I love Habitat for Humanity.  I have always felt drawn to its philosophy, its structure and its experiences. After volunteering on several Habitat sites, mostly in the Twin Cities but also one memorable project in Taos, New Mexico, I decided to join the Carpenters Club and become a sustaining donor.  My modest gifts have been automatically withdrawn from my bank account quite painlessly every year since (I think) 2002.  

Please note that I am 81 years old now, and my first Habitat work experience occurred when I was in my early 60s! 

If you visited a Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity (TCHFH) build site in North Minneapolis in September, you might have felt like everyone on the site was somehow familiar. You wouldn’t have been experiencing déjà vu; the sense of familiarity would have come from the fact that all 27 people on the build site were related.

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