about us

Our Vision:
Neighbors raising their collective voices to address injustice and overcome the barriers that perpetuate inequity.

Our Mission:
The mission of Urban Homeworks is to perpetuate the hope of Jesus Christ through innovative community development.

Urban Homeworks catalyzes powerful people, using equitable housing as a platform to build community. We transform vacant or distressed properties into dignified, healthy homes in neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul, redeeming real estate so that the community can catalyze change agents and leaders.

Our People Oriented Development (POD) model engages people in determining what their neighborhoods look like, catalyzes them to become powerful advocates, and promotes active neighboring. This work helps reverse deeply entrenched inequities allowing for solutions to emerge organically from within neighborhoods.

average days in Urban Homeworks housing
days | longest length of stay in UHW housing
total homes redeveloped
people currently housed

2018 Annual Report | Click Here
2018 Donor List | Click Here

what we do

Housing

Urban Homeworks focuses the combined resources of the public, private and faith sectors to transform vacant, condemned, or underutilized properties and vacant lots into quality, attainable places to live for low to moderate income households.

Housing has been one of the primary ways that racialized wealth gaps have been maintained in our country’s history.  Our goal is to transform housing into a redemptive force not only for the resident or owner, but for the contractors, vendors, and individuals and businesses that benefit from the development and management of the housing we work with.

Our ultimate aim is dignified housing – housing that is both affordable and high quality, and includes a supportive network with a responsive landlord and resources from local community partners.

With dollars leveraged from public and philanthropic sectors, Urban Homeworks offers rental and homeownership opportunities for a broad range of income levels.

Dignified Rentals

Urban Homeworks provides quality rental  housing that is both affordable and dignified.  Our expertise is in small-scale, scattered site housing.  Partnerships with local social service organizations often add support to assist rental families in gaining greater stability. 

In November of 2018, after careful evaluation we decided to bring in Property Solutions and Services as our third-party property management company. Beyond our properties, they manage 500+ units through Minneapolis and St Paul, have significant expertise in funder regulations (compliance), and experience working in the neighborhoods we’re located.

Email rental@urbanhomeworks.org to be notified when vacancies become available.   

Qualifications for Renting

Rental History
Positive and Verifiable rental history 12 months of the past 36 months  

No Negative Rental History in the past 36 months (Eviction, Money Owed, Damage to property)   

Verifiable Gross Income
Required minimum monthly income of 2 ½ x monthly rent  

Pass Criminal Background Check
A record of no “adverse” criminal convictions for at least five years: an adverse criminal conviction or incarceration record is considered a history which would adversely affect the safety, well-being of residents, staff or which would adversely affect the viability of Urban Homeworks. Any record of any sexual offense, arson, or serious violent felonies; will automatically disqualify an applicant household. 

No Outstanding Utility Bills
You must have the ability to have utilities in your name where required

Homewonership

Urban Homeworks transforms quality single-family homes, in Minneapolis and St. Paul, for purchase through a regular loan buying process. Houses available for sale include high-quality rehabs as well as new constructions.

Email homeownership@urbanhomeworks.org to be notified when properties are listed for sale.

Urban Homeworks no longer provides:

  • Financial counseling
  • Rent-to-own options
  • Income based rentals

Visit this link to find a financial counselor near you.

Geography

We focus most of our homeownership projects on North Minneapolis and Frogtown neighborhood in St. Paul. These communities experienced high levels of vacancy and foreclosure rates during the great recession and have only recently started to recover property values.  

Reinvestment

As the housing market stabilizes and values appreciate in these areas, investors with a focus on profit are increasingly being drawn to purchase properties in these areas. Our goal is to facilitate community ownership in these properties before they are bought up by investors and to keep prices at an attainable purchase level for a variety of household sizes and incomes.    

Pre-qualifications for Prospective Buyers

Meet required income guidelines as defined in each property listing

City of Lakes Community Land Trust propertieshave additional application and qualification requirements

Typically agree to occupy the home as their primary residence for at least 5 years 

Equity & Engagement

Urban Homeworks uses housing as a platform to catalyze powerful people in becoming change agents. We believe people are not beneficiaries of charity but actors in their own destiny. Families make homes, homes make neighbors and neighbors create community. 

We focus on both the physical structure of houses and the people  in the homes.  This is what we call People Oriented Development.  (POD)  

Leadership Council

Our POD Council, made from both Urban Homeworks’ residents and their neighbors, promotes leadership and civic engagement, This leadership cohort informs and drives our POD vision and activities. 

Activities

Social activities are essential to forming healthy and sustainable communities, in spaces where we have fun and build trust we gain the capacity to work together for the changes we seek in our community. 

Education

Educational opportunities are a key component, so renters and homeowners understand their rights and responsibilities in building a sustainable and equitable community.  We provide classes and training experiences in partnership with community collaborators.

Community Organizing

Our organizing activities take place in the context of a trusting environment where people can share stories and seek solutions.  This group then commits to act together in confronting injustice and seeking equity. 

Community Collaborators

Urban Homeworks collaborates with community partners to influence collective positive change. We build on and contribute to the work of others to encourage sustainable, people-based solutions for the stability, health, and well-being of our neighbors and neighborhoods.

get involved

Volunteers

Volunteers are essential to our work.

They provide on-site labor, office support, donations, holiday baskets and more. We are eager to partner with you and your group for a meaningful experience for us both.

Want to learn more about volunteering with us?

Click here to submit your interest form.

On-Site Volunteering 

Join us in renovating a newly acquired property or revitalizing an apartment between residents. This work can include cleaning, painting, light carpentry, light demolition, landscaping, etc. No experience is necessary, and all tools are provided.   

Group

Groups of 10-15 volunteers  
Work day typically runs 8:30am – 4:00pm  

When you volunteer with a group your sponsorship helps keep our housing affordable to the families we serve. 

We ask churches and faith groups to contribute $1,000/day and corporations $1,500/day to cover additional volunteer expenses like insurance,  supplies  and staffing.   

Interested in having a group join us? Please fill out our interest form here.

Individual

We dedicate the 3rd Saturday of every month to individuals! Sign up today for an opportunity to live out your beliefs and network with a group of like-minded individuals!

Max 15 volunteers per day
Work day typically runs 9:00am – 1:00pm 
No fee to join us on individual volunteer days

Follow the link to sign up.

Quicksilvers

Weekly on-site construction   

The Quicksilver Crew is a group of mostly retired professionals who volunteer anywhere from a ½ day to 2 full days each week. Quicksilvers do everything from rough framing to putting the finishing touches on a home. 

Quicks meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Interested in joining? Please fill out the interest form here.

Baskets

Volunteer without ever swinging a hammer! Fill this need anywhere, anytime, from anyplace. Engage your children, youth group, or office by putting together a basket filled with items that would be useful as a new neighbor.

Every year, we welcome home at least 60 families, and their journeys warrant a celebration. By putting together baskets you’re playing an integral role in their stability and our community building efforts. We are always in need of baskets. Contact our team to get started!   

Office Volunteers and Interns*

We need consistent volunteers to help in the office. Hours can be flexible – sometime between 9 and 5 on most days.  

To learn more about office volunteer opportunities please contact Emily at emilyl@urbanhomeworks.org

*View our current internships & job openings here 

Administrative & Database Management
Filing, database updating and entry, during office hours. Attention to detail and computer skills required, but training provided. 
 

Reporter
Gather stories and pictures from our different program areas and help prepare them for our communications. No camera required, but photography and writing/editing abilities preferred.  
 

Event Coordination
Help us tackle the planning process as we get ready for events during the year, including fundraisers and celebrations.  
 

Community Outreach
Distribute flyers door-to-door to share information about homeownership possibilities. Excellent communication skills required. Walking required. Suggested 4–5 hours/week.
 

who we are

Director’s Team

AsaleSol Young

AsaleSol Young

Interim Executive Director
Lindsey Hunter

Lindsey Hunter

Human Resources Director
Anne Ketz

Anne Ketz

Real Estate Development Director

Leadership Team

Holly Amaya

Holly Amaya

Grants Manager
Arian Arriola

Arian Arriola

Communications and Marketing Manager
Kelsey Dellwo

Kelsey Dellwo

Sr. Accountant
Yuri Harper

Yuri Harper

Housing Specialist, NAZ
Marque Jensen

Marque Jensen

Equity and Engagement Manager
Azad Lassiter

Azad Lassiter

Real Estate Development Project Manager
Emily Lassiter

Emily Lassiter

Development Manager
Stephanie Moran

Stephanie Moran

Volunteer Coordinator
Joyce Thomas

Joyce Thomas

Office and Engagement Coordinator
Barbara White

Barbara White

Real Estate Development & Construction Coordinator
Want to join the team? Learn more about current opportunities, here.

Board of Directors

    • Claudia Oxley, Interim Board Chair | VP, Foreign Exchange Business Management, U.S Bancorp
    • Collin BarrTreasurer | President – Ryan Companies, North Region
    • Terry Becker | Former President – Riverway LLC
    • Shanelle Hall | Acting Community Engagement Supervisor, Community Action Partnership

    • Becky Landon | CEO – Landon Group, LLC
    • Danyika Leonard | Policy Director, Education Evolving
    • Lee Schafer | Business Columnist – Star Tribune
    • Kayla Schuchman | Director of Housing, City of St. Paul

Partners

  • Traditions Capital Bank
  • The Kirk and Julie Cousins Foundation
  • Bell Lumber and Pole
  • Christ Presbyterian Church
  • Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia
    (Renters United for Justice)
     

  • Nexus Community Partners
  • Northside Home LLC 
  • Normandale Housing
  • Property Solutions and Services (PSS)
  • CURA
  • MN Housing Finance Agency 

  • City of Minneapolis
  • City of St. Paul
  • Project for Pride in Living
  • Twin Cities Land Bank
  • Sunrise Banks 

  • Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity
  • Home Line
  • LISC
  • Riverway Foundation
  • Twin Cities Rise
  • Success Computer Consulting 

"What we are trying to do is not just build some housing but to build a community of people that call a place home that cannot just live there but also have some control and say over their own space."

Chad Schwitters | Executive Director

updates

With Deep Gratitude

Community – what a year!! We kicked off 2020 with big plans to celebrate our 25th anniversary as an organization. But as the coronavirus made its way through our communities, we were forced to shift our celebratory agenda and dig deeper into community relief, sustainability, health, and wellness. Then, the public lynching of George Floyd, a national outcry against racial injustice, and white nationalist terrorism reminded us all that the violent seeds of white supremacy remain in full bloom today.

Internally, we faced tough decisions. We were challenged to meet the moment head-on and make our stance on racial Justice and our fight for housing equity unmistakable and resolute, even when faced with opposition. What would Jesus have done? Jesus, who stated it is harder for the rich to enter his kingdom, Jesus who aggressively confronted the temple priests who cared more for themselves than the people’s health and wellness, Jesus, born an outsider. Jesus’ fight on earth was to ensure that the poor, the marginalized, and the dejected were not forgotten, but deeply and genuinely loved, protected, and cared for: “no need among us.”

There was nothing light or casual about 2020. The year demanded deep and focused attention on the places where our systems fail our wage poor, fail our elders, fail our Black and Indigenous, fail our children, fail the sustainability of this planet. There is sadness in my heart today for the ways too many of us refuse to show up for each other.

Thank you for being a light and for perpetuating hope during such a challenging year.  It is because of you that we can fight on. Look what we accomplished TOGETHER in 2020! Look how our collective light has shown:

  • We set a goal to reach 25 new Stability Makers (monthly donors) in honor of our 25th anniversary. We secured 42 new Stability Makers and increased our monthly revenue by over $2,000 a month.
  • With the shutdowns, residents were losing work and struggling to meet their rent. We had one month to raise $127,000 for rent relief, and we raised a total of $159,100! 
  • In partnership with Broadway Pizza and staff donations, we delivered pizzas to over 140 households to spread some love and let residents know that we were thinking about them.
  • After the murder of George Floyd, local uprisings shuttered essential businesses, and residents struggled to access groceries and other necessities for their families. Hundreds of donations poured into our office that staff distributed almost immediately. 
  • We hosted our first-ever virtual Perpetuate the Hope in August, with a fantastic turnout from our Urban Homeworks family! We were challenged on what equity looks like; we learned from community members and leaders at Urban Homeworks; we heard the organization’s story through the lens of our staff.
  • We raised $155,000 together through the Perpetuate the Hope event! 
  • COVID-19 prevented us from delivering our annual Thanksgiving baskets to each household, so we set a goal to raise $4,500 to purchase Gratitude Gift Cards for each UHW family. You blew our goal out of the water, and we raised $7,660!

In December, community partner Bell Lumber & Pole challenged us to raise $50,000 in new, renewed, or increased gifts to be matched dollar for dollar in one month. You showed up and collectively donated $104,611, exceeding our goal and securing our match of $50,000 for a total of $154,611.

All these incredible highlights were in addition to the ways that you personally show up every year to support our general operations. Whether you donated $5 or $50,000, you helped bring a collective light to an otherwise dark year. Your words of encouragement, often alongside increased donations, engendered hope and kept us moving forward. We only make progress together. We only manifest hope – together.

Thank you for your light. May we shine on in 2021!

 

 

 

AsaleSol Young,

Interim Executive Director

 

 

contact us

    •    2015 Emerson Ave N
      Minneapolis, MN 55411
    • Mon, Tue, Thu | 9 am-5 pm
      Wed | 10 am-5 pm
      Fri | 9 am-3 pm
    •    612-724-9002
    • Careers