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About Us

 

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

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

Urban Homeworks catalyzes powerful people, using equitable housing as a platform to build community and create social change. We use housing as a platform to inspire people in becoming change agents. This work is not charity. It is a partnership of neighbors creating a new and just future.

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 UHW equitable and stable homes
residents in UHW homes
new or revitalized homes sold
affordable homes for rent

2020 Annual Report & Donor List | 2020 Annual Report

2019 Annual Report & Donor List2019 Annual Report

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

What We Do

We Build Beautiful and Affordable Homes

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.

We Provide 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. 

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.

**If you are a resident and have maintenance concerns, please reach Property Solutions and Services at the numbers below: 

UHW / PSS Maintenance Line: 612-598-6545

UHW / PSS EMERGENCY Line: 612-746-0400

 

Are you looking for housing?

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

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

Looking for your next home with Urban Homeworks?

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.

Houses available for sale include high-quality rehabs as well as new construction, and are primarily restricted to buyers earning at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Email homeownership@urbanhomeworks.org to be notified when properties are listed for sale.
Urban Homeworks does not currently provide the following services:
  • Homeownership or financial counseling (contact the MN Homeownership Center to find a counselor and help with purchasing https://www.hocmn.org/buyingahome/),
  • Lease to purchase contract
  • Contracts for deed
We are developing programs for residents to directly or cooperatively purchase our small multi-family properties. If you are interested in receiving updates on properties for sale and the small multi-family ownership programs as they develop, sign-up for updates by contacting homeownership@urbanhomeworks.org.

    

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 

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. 

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. 

What We Do

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

Volunteer

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?

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.   

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?

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

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 welcome 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! 

Click here for a full Welcome Basket Donation List (1) !

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 Ashley at AshleyS@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

Staff

AsaleSol Young

AsaleSol Young

Executive Director
Randy Hanson, CPA

Randy Hanson, CPA

Finance Director
Anne Ketz

Anne Ketz

Real Estate Development Director
Paul Vliem

Paul Vliem

Development Director
Lydia Detweiler

Lydia Detweiler

Executive Assistant
Katie Herrick

Katie Herrick

Communications Manager
Azad Lassiter

Azad Lassiter

Real Estate Development Project Manager
Emily Lassiter

Emily Lassiter

Sr. Development Officer
Ashley Satorius

Ashley Satorius

Volunteer Program Manager
Join the Team!

Join the Team!

We're hiring!

Want to join the team? Learn more about current opportunities, here.

Board of Directors

  • Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs | Co-Director of Racial Justice, Minnesota Council of Churches
  • Becky Landon | CEO – Landon Group, LLC
  • Danyika Leonard, Co-Chair | Policy Director, Education Evolving
  • Claudia Oxley, Co-Chair | Retired
  • Lee Schafer, Treasurer | Business Columnist – Star Tribune

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 

updates

How Urban Homeworks is addressing the need for equitable homeownership options

Greetings, Urban Homeworks supporters! I am Anne Ketz, the Real Estate Development Director at Urban Homeworks. I oversee all existing and new housing developments. I joined the organization in 2017, and this May I celebrate 5 years of working with UHW! 

Over the years, we have experienced many changes at Urban Homeworks, both within the organization and community. Our Real Estate Development work has changed also. 

We continue to improve our designs and the energy efficiency of our homes. We continue to place dignified affordability at the top of our priorities. It has not been easy. 

Market forces have made it challenging to keep up with the need for affordable homeownership options. Competing funding, investor competition, and high costs have caused us to produce fewer new homes than we were ten years ago. The production can feel painfully slow when the demand is so high. However, each new unit still helps a low-income family in our community. I remind myself daily who we are doing this work for and why it is so important.

Urban Homeworks focuses on dignified, affordable rental and homeownership opportunities in majority BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities. Our work focuses on these communities because of generations of racism. Discriminatory policies like redlining, racial covenants, and deed restrictions of the past continue to affect communities today. The impacts are seen today in lower property values, low BIPOC homeownership rates, and high concentrations of poverty. 

Policy change is still needed. I just finished writing to our state lawmakers seeking more funding for homeownership development. Minnesota is among the worst in the nation for BIPOC homeownership. The Twin Cities is the worst metro region for Black homeownership. As of 2018, 70% of white families in MN are homeowners, while only 21% of Black families are. That number has decreased from 30% in 2000. 

A new 2021 report published by the Urban Institute, “Who Owns the Twin Cities,” provides updated data on this issue. This article from MinnPost offers a summary. 

Homeownership is one system where we can pursue racial equity, but lawmakers often overlook ownership when discussing affordable housing needs. Homeownership receives drastically less funding than rental housing. To reduce the ownership disparity rate, we must fund BIPOC homeownership. 

We are working towards these equity goals, along with other non-profit partners throughout the state, by:

  • Fighting for needed policy and funding changes
  • Continuing to supply and improve access to dignified, affordable rental housing
  • Developing a down payment assistance fund for BIPOC households
  • Engaging residents in individual housing and ownership goals; and 
  • Continuing to develop new ownership units through new construction and rehab opportunities. 

The Real Estate Development program focuses on producing new and innovative homeownership opportunities. In those efforts, we currently have 11 homes in various stages of development. Some of those projects include: 

  • A partnership with Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) on a multi-family townhouse. This development of three 4-bedroom units will follow a cooperative ownership model.
  • Two highly energy-efficient, single-family houses with funding from the City of Minneapolis to achieve passive certification. Passive houses are good for the environment and lower utility costs for future homeowners.  
  • A donated single-family home rehab – the first property donation we have received in years. The donor family has owned the house since the 1930s.

We have other exciting work ahead and look forward to keeping you updated as projects develop. We hope you will continue to follow along and support this critical work to address housing justice and racial inequities in our communities.

Please donate, volunteer, and call your lawmakers to fight for housing justice.

Sincerely,

Anne Ketze
Real Estate Development Director
Urban Homeworks

Community Partnerships!

Urban Homeworks is more than a housing organization. We seek to center the voices of our community and innovate in ways that create equitable solutions for our residents and neighbors.  

That innovation always begins with listening to the needs of our community.  Over the past year, the overwhelming need we heard again and again from our residents was a need for safety.  

After attempts to work with public officials and local police, Urban Homeworks decided to formally partner with Brothers EMpowered, a community safety organization committed to neighborhood peacekeeping through relationship building and consistent presence. 

We invite you to learn more about our partnership by watching this quick clip from an interview between Urban Homeworks Executive Director AsaleSol Young and Brothers EMpowered founder Charles Caine.  

Click below to view the teaser clip:

Click below to view the full interview:

contact us

 

Urban Homeworks Temporary Address:

  • P.O Box 11276, Minneapolis, MN 55411
  • 612-724-9002

Property Solutions & Services (PSS) Temporary Property Management Office Address:

  • 2025 Emerson Ave N, Unit 103, Minneapolis, MN 55411
  • UHW/PSS Maintenance Phone: 612-598-6545
  • UHW/PSS Emergency Maintenance Phone: 612-746-0400

 

  • Walk-In Hours are Mon, Wed, Fri | 10 am-3 pm.
  • Please call and make an appointment for times outside of walk-in hours 612-598-6545