Guest blog written by Adrienne Aarts, Leadership Giving Officer
It’s been five years since Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity built our flagship headquarters on University Avenue in St. Paul. We are celebrating because in that time, we have had the space to grow and change to better serve local families and to support our mission of eliminating poverty housing in the Twin Cities.
In the prior 29 years, Twin Cities Habitat served roughly 1,000 families through our homeownership program (and thousands more through other programs). In just the last five years in our new building, more than 300 families became homeowners with Habitat. Our new home created better infrastructure to welcome families and community partners, and to support our volunteers and staff.
When Habitat moved in 2013, we had about 90 staff members. Since then, we have grown to more than 125 employees, with additional AmeriCorps members and volunteers who work in the building daily.
When clients walk through our doors, they know they’ve come to a welcoming place that meets their needs. There are private rooms for homeownership advising meetings and a safe place for children to play while their parents prepare for homeownership.
Our building invites and encourages engagement with homeowners, volunteers, community partners, and other stakeholders. We have increased awareness of our mission by holding high profile events at our headquarters, such as the State Housing Task Force dinner. In addition, Habitat has supported collaboration among affordable housing groups by offering our public rooms at no cost to more than 20 organizations, including the Metropolitan Council, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, and Bremer Bank's CRA Council.
We have also been able to host our own events, including home dedications for new homeowners, and events to recognize Regular Volunteer Crews, Women Build, Legacy Circle, Master Gardeners, staff, Board and Board Emeritus, and our Habitat Young Professionals Network.
In addition, Twin Cities Habitat has gone green! In 2014, our building received Silver LEED certification from the U.S. Council on Green Building. In our first year of occupancy alone, we saved $28,274 on utility costs, reinvesting those dollars into our mission work.
All who walk through the front door of our home—homebuyers, volunteers, advocates, neighbors, staff—immediately feel welcomed and believe Habitat is a place where they want to be, a place where they can make a difference.