Peace and Liberation Urban Homeworks Residents, Families, Donors, and Supporters!

It has been two full months since I officially stepped into the role as Executive Director and seven months since accepting the post as Interim. Do I get less sleep these days? Absolutely. In the last two months, some of our residents started the Neighborhoods Now course through the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), while others concluded a homeownership course offered through our partners at Hope Community. We elected two board co-chairs – introductions coming soon. We closed on our office sale to Juxtaposition Arts to aid in their community art-space expansion. And in this first quarter, we saw our number of families enrolled in the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) reach 25% – and we will not stop there! This quarter has been filled with opportunities for us to model our values – to model the core of our mission and vision. We have developed new partnerships and strengthened old ones. In quarter one, we asked ourselves what it truly means to Neighbor in times like these. Neighbor is one of our longstanding Core Values.

To Neighbor means humbly accepting that there is ongoing work on oneself and a conscientious effort to do that work. It means stepping up and responding to the suffering of others with mutual aid and support. Step Up is seeing a need and acting, in partnership, alongside those who have that need. We believe in stepping up in ways that honor our communities, not silence or overshadow their voices with our own. We apply our Core Values internally and to the way we landlord our rental units, develop housing and people, and steward the communities that have trusted us to provide dignified, affordable housing for 26 years. As paired with our mission and vision, our values drive us to work on dignified, affordable housing while standing against all forms of racism and systemic oppression that our communities face daily. This is what it means to Step Up and Neighbor. As we work to increase the number of affordable rental opportunities across the city and make homeownership more accessible to those we currently rent to, we will continue to stand in solidarity with the marginalized and oppressed just as Jesus did when He walked this earth.

Thank you to everyone who took a moment to celebrate us as we moved forward into the future with a renewed sense of purpose and passion. Thank you to our residents who continue to demonstrate belief in our work by sharing your stories and journeys with us. You show up and continue to build community regularly. We are inspired by and so grateful to you for your demonstration of grit and resolve. And thank you to those of you who signified your support with an increased donation in quarter one. We recognize the courage it takes to have your spending reflect your values. We get this done with each one of you. For change comes by us, together. Quarter two is already off to a promising start!

Until next time – may we all continue to work for justice, may we all experience peace,

AsaleSol Young,

Executive Director