Building Community Blog

"I wish I could take my home with me,” Lilly said. Lilly was homebuyer number one for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity back in 1986. She, and her three teenaged daughters had moved a lot and shared a small two-bedroom apartment before she bought the home in Minneapolis. “Moving so much was hard on them,” she said, “and I didn’t want to do that to them anymore.” 

Last September, Twin Cities Habitat kicked off three home build projects in the Woodland Village in Blaine –  the first Habitat homes built in the north metro community. These are the first of a total of eight Habitat homes that will be built in this neighborhood, all of which will be completed by 2018.

Home Dedications are a celebration held at the end of each build, when the house is complete and the family is just about to move in. Each one is an event that gathers the homebuying family together with the sponsors and volunteers that worked on the home, along with community members, neighbors and Habitat staff. It is a celebration of each little piece that created the home: the determination and hard-work of the homebuying family, the generosity and time of volunteers, and the incredible contributions from supporters.

These important gatherings wouldn't happen at all without the tremendous efforts of a special group of volunteers: the Dedications Committee

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.

Historically, Minnesota’s best business leaders have been able to look beyond their company’s bottom line and ask themselves: How do we strengthen our entire region for the future? This collective foresight has resulted in a great standard of living in the state and a long tradition of corporate and individual philanthropy.

September 21st was the day 3M had designated as its Global Volunteer Day, a day where employees are encouraged to go out into their communities to do service work. For 25 current employees, and 4 alumni, that meant spending the day helping to build townhomes in a Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity development in Cottage Grove. Other groups of 3M employees were working at different Habitat projects, or at a wide assortment of community organizations throughout the Twin Cities.

Rainbow Build is a special, week-long initiative that brings together awareness of affordable housing programs in the community and education about how to advocate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Allied (LGBTQA+) families currently living without decent housing.

Throughout the week (August 24th-August 28th) eighty-two volunteers, community supporters and family partners gathered to work together on two Habitat homes in Richfield. In addition to countless individual volunteers Rainbow Build hosted crews from Gay4Good, Hell’s Kitchen, Target, Thomson Reuters and Voya Financial during the week. 

Each build day was paired with conversations about barriers to affordable housing and an introduction to many of the advocacy programs working for LGBTQ families in the area. 

Habitat homebuilding sites are usually hives of activity. You’ll see volunteers on ladders installing roofs, using power saws to cut lumber, hoisting windows into place, or brushing on a coat of paint. All volunteers have the opportunity to learn new skills, but no one is required to do anything beyond their skills or comfort. Some, like Christy Unterschuetz, just “do what they can do.” In Christy’s case, that’s a lot. 

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