If you partner with Twin Cities Habitat for home repairs, you’ll get to know America Lindgren. As the A Brush with Kindness Program Coordinator, America is with homeowners from start to finish on their home repair journey—from ensuring applications are complete to signing off on the completed project. And while she coordinates projects with families from a distance, she knows first-hand the trials and tribulations of trying to preserve and adapt a home.
“I was along the journey toward homeownership with my mother when I was younger, and I saw how it can cause a family to come closer,” America says. “And I can understand the sacrifices that are made along the way. We’ve been in the home for twelve years now, and are now in the position of being caregivers. Your home has to be able to adapt with you, and you really have to be resourceful to maintain it.”
America has been lucky in finding solutions with her family. Recently, they had to replace the windows and doors in her family's home, and were able to pull a group of friends together to paint the home afterwards, keeping their project in budget. America sees a good fit with A Brush with Kindness because she’s essentially able to do the same thing with families.
America and team on a Women Build site
America graduated from Cornell College in Iowa, where she studied English (concentration in Creative Writing), Sociology, and Anthropology. While attending college full-time, she served as an AmeriCorps Member at the Willis Dady emergency shelter for a year. During a summer between semesters, America emailed the Jeremiah Program in Minneapolis and asked if she could support their work through an internship. It was a whirlwind of learning.
“Every day I had a different job!” America says. “I might’ve spent the morning with moms and babies, then help supervise the Kindergarteners, then in the afternoon work on technology issues in the office, then helped on a marketing project for volunteer recruitment. I created a resource guide for parents, and I learned how to do a legal name change in the state of Minnesota.”
These experiences – quickly learning new skills, connecting folks to existing resources, advocating on behalf of clients – serve America well at Twin Cities Habitat. She was first hired when A Brush with Kindness had closed applications for over a year in order to make the program more efficient and effective while completing previously-scheduled projects. America would triage incoming inquiries, in the hopes of connecting folks to other resources in the community.
Now, America might still refer people to other resources when Twin Cities Habitat isn’t the right fit, but she’s also able to walk with people through the entire revamped home repair process. Allie Berg, who oversees outreach and intake for both homeownership and home repair programs, is glad to have America on the team.
“America plays a key role in working with homeowners who partner with Habitat for their home repairs,” Allie says. “She juggles customer service and program coordination with ease, and over the past year has helped transition the A Brush with Kindness program to focus on deeper health and safety repairs for Twin Cities homeowners.”
America loves when she’s able to identify that A Brush with Kindness is a good fit for a family who’s been looking for a long time and doing all they can to maintain their home. And she loves when she gets to bring a project to completion.
“Sometimes I’ve had a long day of phone calls, and I get to make that call where I say ‘Your project is completed—all I need is a signature!’ and there’s a very excited voice on the other line.”
When America’s not at Twin Cities Habitat, she enjoys sleep (difficult to come by when you’re a caretaker), group training at the gym, working through the many books she wants to read, and watching movies and shows with her Grandpa—even if it’s the gruesome Walking Dead series.
Interested in home repairs?
Once resources for the year are gone, applications will be closed until next summer. America explains two reasons for this:
- No waiting list means that there’s a shorter turn-around time between being accepted and completing your home repair. In the past, the huge demand and wait list meant some people could be waiting for two years for their repairs.
- We’re focusing on deeper, more critical repairs, so that with one application you can have all of your home repairs done at once. In the past, some people applied several times to take care of different types of home repairs.