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Volunteer Spotlight: Steve Brown

Laura Duque
Posted by Laura Duque on 3:19 PM on November 14, 2019

Steve Brown is no stranger to the work of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. Steve has logged an impressive 988 hours as a volunteer. He has spent most of that time helping to build affordable homes for local families.

Prior to volunteering with Habitat, Steve had a 33-year corporate career in brand marketing, working for companies such as General Mills, M&M Mars, Pillsbury, and Hearth and Home Technologies. He would later start his own Mr. Handyman franchise and then become the manager of the lumber and flooring departments at Home Depot before retiring in 2017.

Steve Brown showing off a set of locking pliers.

After spending his first year of retirement working on home improvement projects for his own house, Steve looked for an opportunity where he could use his skills to help others.

He had always been concerned with homelessness and felt a moral obligation to do something about it. In the past, he tried to help those experiencing homelessness by doing things like volunteering at a local soup kitchen.

"Somehow that felt like I was treating a symptom and not addressing the root cause," Steve shared.

Steve wanted to directly address the need for affordable housing and volunteering for Twin Cities Habitat seemed like a step in the right direction. Since then, Steve has worked on several homebuilding projects alongside site supervisor Tony Beckstrom and many other volunteers.

Steve enjoys the opportunities for problem-solving that arise on the construction site. Most of all, he is motivated by the diligence and hard work of other volunteers, and knowing he is helping people. Some of Steve’s favorite volunteering experiences include building a handicap accessible home for a U.S. veteran and taking part in various home rehabilitation projects.

Steve’s commitment to Habitat does not stop with homebuilding. This past year, Steve created a home maintenance workshop for Habitat homeowners.

“It was designed to teach homeowners basic home repairs and help them save money on things like having to hire a plumber to fix a leaky sink."

Steve showing the back of an exposed toilet tank to explain the parts.

The presentation was so successful that the Habitat Homeowner Engagement team has planned for it to take place again this year.

In addition to being involved with Habitat, Steve is also part of Edina Neighbors for Affordable Housing, an advocacy group that works to provide affordable housing opportunities in Edina, Minnesota.

The organization is made up of local Edina residents like Steve who work to encourage the city’s planning commission to build more affordable housing options.

According to Steve, the city has so far been receptive to the organization’s plans. However, the organization continues to face challenges in making sure housing stays affordable for as long as possible.

“That’s why I like working for Habitat. It’s nice to know that the homes we build will be permanently affordable. That just isn’t the case for most other affordable housing based on what government tax credits typically provide.”

It is for this reason that Steve not only encourages others to volunteer but also donate to Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.

All in all, it is fair to say that Habitat is lucky to have Steve as a regular volunteer. We could not do what we do without volunteers like Steve.

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Tags: Volunteer Spotlight, Habitat Homebuilding, 2019

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