about

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.

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.
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

Homeownership

Urban Homeworks is dedicated to producing quality single-family homes, in Minneapolis and St. Paul, for purchase by low to moderate income households. Houses available for purchase include high-quality rehabs as well as new construction. Many properties have exclusive down payment or closing cost assistance that may be available to eligible buyers.  

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

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 


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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 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

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.
 

*View our current internships & job openings here 

who we are

Director’s Team

Chad Schwitters

Chad Schwitters

Executive Director
Lindsey Hunter

Lindsey Hunter

Human Resources Director
Asalesol Young

Asalesol Young

Marketing & Development Director
Lissa Grabowski

Lissa Grabowski

Finance Director
Anne Ketz

Anne Ketz

Real Estate Development Director

Staff

Holly Amaya

Holly Amaya

Grants Manager
Anna DeCrans

Anna DeCrans

Innovation & Special Projects Manager
Yuri Harper

Yuri Harper

Housing Specialist, NAZ
Marque Jensen

Marque Jensen

Equity and Engagement Manager
Dejon Jones

Dejon Jones

Facilities Custodian
Emily Lassiter

Emily Lassiter

Development Manager
Jamie McDougall

Jamie McDougall

Senior Accountant
Stephanie Moran

Stephanie Moran

Volunteer Coordinator
Joyce Thomas

Joyce Thomas

Office and Engagement Coordinator
Barbara White

Barbara White

Real Estate Development & Construction Coordinator
Kali Yeado

Kali Yeado

Communications & Marketing Manager
Want to join the team? Learn more about current opportunities, here.

Board of Directors

    • Paula HaywoodBoard Chair | Former Juvenile Probation Quality Assurance Manager
    • Collin BarrTreasurer | President – Ryan Companies, North Region
    • Calvin Littlejohn, Secretary | CEO, Tri-Construction
    • Terry Becker | Former President – Riverway LLC
    • Steve Firkus | Former CEO, Crew2, Inc.
    • Shanelle Hall | Acting Community Engagement Supervisor, Community Action Partnership

    • Jae Ijiyode | Senior IT Consultant, Fulcrum Consulting
    • Becky Landon | CEO – Landon Group, LLC
    • Danyika Leonard | Policy Director, Education Evolving
    • Claudia Oxley | VP, Foreign Exchange Business Management, U.S Bancorp
    • 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

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