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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 units redeveloped
total active rental units

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

 

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

Homeownership

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.

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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?

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?

Please fill out the group volunteer 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

Click here to apply to volunteer.

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

Executive Director
Lindsey Hunter

Lindsey Hunter

Human Resources Director
Anne Ketz

Anne Ketz

Real Estate Development Director
Randy Hanson, CPA

Randy Hanson, CPA

Finance Director
Paul Vliem

Paul Vliem

Development Director

Leadership Team

Arian Arriola

Arian Arriola

Communications and Marketing Manager
Kelsey Dellwo

Kelsey Dellwo

Sr. Accountant
Tiffany Dykes

Tiffany Dykes

Grants Manager
Yuri Harper

Yuri Harper

Housing Specialist, NAZ
Azad Lassiter

Azad Lassiter

Real Estate Development Project Manager
Emily Lassiter

Emily Lassiter

Sr. Development Officer
Barbara White

Barbara White

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

Board of Directors

    • Collin BarrTreasurer | President – Ryan Companies, North Region
    • Terry Becker | Former President – Riverway LLC
    • Shanelle Hall | Client Services Supervisor, Community Action Partnership
    • Becky Landon | CEO – Landon Group, LLC
    • Danyika Leonard, Co-Chair | Policy Director, Education Evolving
    • Claudia Oxley, Co-Chair | Retired
    • Lee Schafer | 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 

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

updates

Perpetuating Hope

Hope. In 2020, our notions of hope were challenged beyond measures previously defined. We witnessed, without blinders, the ways our systems of health care, housing, policing, and education fail the most vulnerable in our communities. We were faced with ourselves and our capacity to move systemic injustice to a place of balance, a place where all humans have space and opportunity to live life to its fullest.

In 2020, we witnessed human greed, corruption, xenophobia, racism, and ableism prevail over the greater
good. When the state, and eventually the world, went into lockdown, we were forced to wrestle with the outcomes and health disparities of our elders, of our educators, our healthcare workers, and our houseless. As things shut down within our city, the reality that North Minneapolis is a food desert struck hard. Folks worried about their capacity to pay rent and worried about feeding their children as work hours became limited or they were laid off. We experienced the collective worry around how much wider the gap in student education would grow and the impact of our already entrenched housing crisis. The weight was unbearable. And yet, there was hope.

Other parts of the world encouraged us to remain steadfast in our lockdowns with tender songs and Facebook messages (like these). Healthcare workers determined to continue their efforts, even as depression spiked in the field. We found hope in these sparks. We found hope in their light. We had hope that we would be together again, hope that we would slow the rate of lost lives, hope that our young people would somehow thrive and grow and learn and hope that our elders would be safe.

We held tight, as a moratorium on evictions went out nationally, and as nonprofits, food shelves, and independent neighbors began providing food within communities that had lost their already limited access. Hope. Hope leads us to see abundance in crisis. Hope leads us to acknowledge our excess.

At Urban Homeworks, we slowed our development work, eventually bringing it to a halt as we responded to the immediate needs of our communities. And we looked to you, our donors and supporters, to stand with us with contributions as we shifted to that “innovative community development” that is responsive to community need because we have Hope that the human capacity to neighbor overcomes our capacity for avarice.

For many of us, the world ended again when we witnessed the torture and death – the public lynching – of George Floyd. Our breaths grew shallower as we tried to fathom the unnecessary and inhumane stealing of life amidst a year of already so much useless human loss. The year, once again, forced all of us to reckon with the impacts of systemic racism, injustice, and white supremacy. We were required to examine ourselves and the oppressions we have allowed to persist. And yet, we continued fighting for justice, fighting for the humanity of all people to be recognized because we held tight to Hope. A hope that the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech would finally ring true. A hope that our communities sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. A hope of Jubilee for all.

In 2020, we struggled and fought alongside those most impacted by system failure. We continue to fight so that survival will no longer be the baseline for anyone living in our Minneapolis and St. Paul communities. We fight because we believe, as Christ did, that each and every one of us was created to live a full life. A full life is a life that is valued enough to be protected and not targeted, no longer viewed as disposable chattel, but held up as worthy and deserving of love. At Urban Homeworks, we believe that means a life uplifted by a place to call home, nutritious food that nourishes our bodies, and quality education that nourishes our minds.

Some have balked at our determination to speak truthfully about the roots of systemic oppression – at our clear and defined use of the words white supremacy. As we continue into 2021, we commit to acknowledging the heinous truth of white supremacy at work in this country and our community, and to remain in the societal tensions that that truth inevitably bears. We are resolved because we know that if we do not speak truthfully, if we do not acknowledge the roots of housing injustice, the roots of poverty and disinvestment, the roots of crime and violence – nothing will change.

The path of justice has never been an easy road, but we fight on. For we all have a right to shalom, a right to thrive. There is abundance. There is enough.

Thank you to all of those who stood staunchly alongside us in 2020. To the residents and homebuyers, the volunteers, community organizers and partners, the funders, and supporters – thank you for standing with us in Hope.

In solidarity with gratitude and love,

AsaleSol

Celebrate Juneteeth!

Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States nearly 2 1/2 years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on June 19th, 1865. Check out the list of activities organized by the Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board and Juneteenth Community Board commemorating Juneteenth:

June 13-19: Juneteenth Story Strolls Story Strolls are a fun way to enjoy reading while spending time outdoors. Community members are invited to visit the park and walk the path as they read the book. This is a self-guided tour that families can enjoy at their leisure.

Story Stroll signs will be up on a continuous basis for the week.

“Black is a Rainbow Color” by Angela Joy
Location: Trails near Theodore Wirth Beach area “Juneteenth for Mazie” by Floyd Cooper

“Juneteenth for Mazie” by Floyd Cooper
Location: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park “The Undefeated” by Kwame Alexander

“The Undefeated” by Kwame Alexander
Location: North Commons Park. Presented in collaboration with Hennepin County Library. 

Presented in collaboration with Hennepin County Library

June 15 (Dusk/9 pm):
Drive-In Movie: “42”
Location: Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board Headquarters
Register Here

June 17 (6-8 pm):
Community Panel Discussion – Bridging the Gap Virtual

June 18 (7-9 pm):
Shingle Creek Juneteenth Family Night
Location: Creekview Park
– Announcement of Essay Contest Award Winner and Coloring Contest 
– DJ music provided Djdime
– A special announcement from General Granger 
– Youth dance performance  Distribution of Juneteenth Activity Bags

June 18 (Dusk/9 pm):
Outdoor Movie: The Great Debaters
Location: Creekview Park All June 18th activities presented in collaboration with Shingle Creek Neighborhood Association and Creekview Park. 

June 19 (10 am -Noon):
Community Panel Discussion – Public Safety: Where Do We Go From Now
Virtual (1 pm – 3 pm)
Music in the Park – DJ D.I.M.E., Jovonta Patton, Royal Family Music Group
Flight for Freedom – Kite Flight
Location: Bethune Park
9 pm
Outdoor Movie: Jumanji: The Next Level
Location: Webber Park

More ways to learn about Juneteenth:

contact us

    • 1110 West Broadway Ave
      Minneapolis, MN 55411
    • Mon, Weds, Friday | 10 am-3 pm
    • Please call and make an appointment for times outside of walk-in hourse 612-598-6545
  • General information 612-724-9002
  • Donation related information (only) 612-399-6165
  • Careers