Spring means something different to every one of us — warmth, sunshine, new life. For DeAndre, Trina, and their five kids, this spring means the celebration of their one-year anniversary as new homeowners!
I love sharing stories like DeAndre’s because they demonstrate the power of hope and perseverance, the power of community in meeting our long-held dreams, and the role that each of us, including you, have in that work.
DeAndre’s dream of being a homeowner is just one example of the way we come together to transform hope into reality. DeAndre shared, “I grew up in a single-parent household. My mom did the best she could, but I wanted to break that [homeownership] barrier. I wanted to be the first one to build some generational wealth.”
DeAndre spent much of his time moving between Minnesota and Chicago when he was a kid. Not only was it expensive for his single mom, who was doing her best to support him and his siblings, but it was difficult to be uprooted continuously.
He became a permanent Minnesota resident in 1998 and moved to North Minneapolis in 2000 where he’s been ever since. Even though he was planted in North over 20 years ago, he continued to be unstable due to problems with landlords and other barriers that come with renting.
DeAndre’s experience involved relying on non-responsive landlords who didn’t care about the condition of his unit, often leaving him to feel powerless over his own home. With all he endured, the breaking point was when he was forced out unexpectedly in the middle of the pandemic. His fiancé, Trina, was pregnant, and they had 4 other children all under the age of 7. It was stressful to be forced out of what he thought was a reliable living situation with just weeks to find a new home for his growing family.
When DeAndre had his first child at age 27, he knew he didn’t want his kids to face the same challenges he did growing up. He wanted them to have one home — a place to feel safe and secure, to come back to and say, “that’s where I grew up.”
He wanted his family to be rooted and sustained in community.
DeAndre didn’t know what it would take but was determined to be a homeowner. He had a stable job with Hennepin County and a longstanding relationship banking with US Bank on West Broadway, one of Urban Homeworks’ close partners. He stopped in one day to ask what he needed to do to buy a house.
To his surprise, he found that he was in a financial position that would set him for homeownership success.His hunt for a home began. He put in 6 offers that were all rejected in the impossibly fast-paced, housing market — a market that continues to push first-time buyers out of ownership opportunities as homes are bought up by outside investors looking only to achieve profit. With each rejection, DeAndre’s hope wavered — he began to question if homeownership was truly for him. At the brink of hopelessness, Troy Bowman, an Urban Homeworks’ Finance committee member and mortgage originator at US bank, shared that UHW had just completed the construction of a brand-new affordable home, and DeAndre met the criteria to purchase!
After touring the house twice, DeAndre couldn’t stop dreaming of all the possibilities this house would give him and his family. He loved that it was a brand-new home with new, stainless-steel appliances, a spacious backyard, and potential for building equity with an unfinished basement roughed out for two bedrooms and a bathroom. He was shocked that such an opportunity was available to him.
DeAndre recalled, “When I was a kid, I used to look through magazines and look at furniture and houses. I always wanted to know how I would be living and what kind of home I would be in. Everything I looked at wasn’t even as good as this house.”
His hope, determination, and connection to community were invaluable to this outcome. After much excitement and anticipation, DeAndre closed on the house in May 2022!
Within the first couple of months, he built two additional bedrooms in the unfinished basement, growing his three-bedroom into a five-bedroom home that now comfortably fits him, his fiancé, and their five kids, ages 6 months to 8 years old.
This summer, he plans on focusing his efforts on the backyard by building a vertical garden, planting a clover line, and paving another parking stall near his garage. DeAndre has built an estimated $30,000 in equity to his home in just one year.
“I’ve never been able to do a garden before. When you’re a homeowner, you have more opportunity, more leeway, you just know you have someplace to be, you have something to maintain. Owning a home is a job in itself, but it’s a job worth having.” DeAndre shared.
DeAndre’s unrelenting hope for homeownership became his reality, and the ripple effects of that determination are growing beyond his front porch. He’s already seen firsthand how settling into his home and getting to know his neighbors is cultivating trust that didn’t exist before.
DeAndre shared, “Community means a lot to me… A lot of people have taken it upon themselves to build a safe community here in North Minneapolis. Everybody in my neighborhood owns their home and values taking care of their home. And we take care of each other.”
DeAndre found the stability he needed for his family and the foundation he needed to start working on his own dream. He recently opened an LLC and started saving to begin his own business in the real estate industry!
At Urban Homeworks, we work to be community-centered in everything we do because it takes all of us to accomplish the work of housing equity. It takes the determination and resilient hope of folks like DeAndre working toward a better future for their family. It takes hard work from UHW staff, board, and volunteers to remove barriers, provide resources, and respond to community needs.
And it takes you — giving generously to overwhelm this mission with the resources it takes to make more homes available to more people.
Urban Homeworks is putting $4.9 million to work in the community this year, $1.9 million from supporters like you, that will directly benefit individuals who are just one stable home away from achieving their dreams.
Will you join us in this ambitious hope by donating to Urban Homeworks today?
When you support Urban Homeworks, you do more than perpetuate hope through stories like DeAndre’s. When you invest in the power of “home,” you invest in a more connected and equitable future.
DeAndre’s powerful story demonstrates the importance of acting through hope for a better future. We ask you to do the same – to mirror his hope, to honor his determination, and to give generously as part of this community so that even more families like DeAndre’s can find the home they dream of.
With determination that we can come together for meaningful change,