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Updates from our Neighborhood Revitalization program

Blake MacKenzie
Posted by Blake MacKenzie on 10:03 AM on February 10, 2018

For the past seven years, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has partnered with community organizationsto support residents' vision for their neighborhood. Our work has focused on the Jordan neighborhood of North Minneapolis and the Frogtown Neighborhood of St. Paul.

We’ve prioritized creating and preserving homeownership in these neighborhoods. Beyond that, we’ve formed strong partnerships with residents, community groups, donors, and volunteers to support neighborhoods and build community.

Years of listening and earning trust have allowed us to respond when needs arise, joining with others to provide support. Here are a few updates of recent events and things to come:

Community comes together to support renters

Last November, landlord Mahmood Khan was stripped of his rental license for seriously substandard housing. This left more than 50 families in North Minneapolis facing housing uncertainty. On one hand, it’s important to hold landlords accountable for dangerous and unstable living conditions. On the other hand, now these families must grapple with whether or not they can continue living in their homes. Many already face barriers to other housing choices like homeownership, so their options are limited. (Read the full story in the January edition of North News.)

In the meantime, the community is rallying around its residents. Twin Cities Habitat came together with other community organizations for a holiday party on December 30—the day of Kwanzaa celebrating Purpose. Habitat’s role was to help with logistics and resources for the celebration.

The day before the event, Thrivent members and others gathered to wrap presents for each renter affected by the Khan rental properties. Others also contributed—Half-Price Books donated books, Walmart provided a discount, H White Men’s Room gave gift cards, to name a few.

The event was a beautiful celebration filled with hope, even amongst the uncertainty of the situation. Residents enjoyed food and conversations, and a plethora of community resources were available, including information about Habitat’s homeownership program. Volunteers even brought gifts and resources to the families who couldn’t attend, so no one was left out.

“This all started out as a small idea that quickly became much bigger than we expected; but to see the joy we brought the families made all of the work we did worthwhile” said Chris Brown, Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization Intern, who helped organize the event.

People getting food at the event for Khan residents Tree and gifts at the event for Khan residents.
Woman and baby at the event for Khan residents. Residents with presents at the event for Khan residents.

Photos of the holiday event for Khan residents by North News.

Frogtown updates

The Frogtown Neighborhood Association unveiled its Frogtown's Small Area Plan (a.k.a. SmaPl), which is a document that envisions how residents would like Frogtown to evolve over the next decade and beyond. It was created by and for the community (it's also in cartoon form to make it accessible to children), and it's a living document. The unveiling was a community celebration with food, performances, and guest speakers like Mayor Melvin Carter. Once submitted to the city and reviewed, the plan will be integrated into the City of Saint Paul’s Comprehensive Plan, which is a collective vision for the entire city. For more information, click here.

Rondo Community Land Trust and its partner, Community Housing Development Corporation, are collaborating with the Neighborhood Network for Seniors and Neighborhood Development Center to develop two mixed-use commercial/residential buildings. These buildings will provide affordable senior housing and long-term commercial space for small, local, and minority-owned businesses. They will include a live work space that is not only available for artists, but for anyone offering a service or business for the community. The buildings will be located on the Selby-Victoria and Selby-Milton intersections. This is an example of mixed-use housing close to our Frogtown focus area. 

The City of Saint Paul has created a Rental Rehabilitation Loan Program. This program aims to preserve the affordable rental options and assist landlords with health and safety property improvements. For more information about this program, check out www.stpaul.gov/rentalrehab.

If you’d like monthly updates from our Neighborhood Revitalization program, sign up below for our e-newsletter. It’s full of upcoming events, resources, and stories from the communities we partner with.

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Tags: Neighborhood Revitalization, 2018

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