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Urban Homeworks

Rating: 4.93 stars   27 reviews 1,971

Address:

2015 Emerson Avenue North Minneapolis MN 55411 USA

Mission:

Perpetuate the hope of jesus christ through innovative community development that produces equitable dignified housing, a strategic network of good neighbors and the redemptive development of real estate.

Results:

Community Development in 2012: 252 family members live in Urban Homeworks housing. 56 Urban Neighbors are engaging in a program that challenges presumptions of poverty and the city. 107 community members are receiving training that can change the legacy of their family. 30 rental will be redemptively redeveloped from foreclosure. 8 homes will be completed to rebuild the foundation of focused areas, providing affordable home ownership

Geographic areas served:

Disadvantaged neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN.

Programs:

Real estate development - acquisition of housing:urban homeworks has constructed, rehabilitated and managed scattered, multi-unit and single-family housing in distressed areas of minneapolis and st. Paul since 1995. We are unique in the twin cities in our focus on smaller, multi-unit rental properties. We have committed to this approach to building healthy neighborhoods through multiple access points in the housing ecosystem. Specifically, these properties, along with affordable single-family homes, provide critical access to family-sized rental properties and homeownership for our largest demographic of housing participants - families in need of 3 or more bedrooms. Since the organization was founded, it has rehabilitated, rented and managed over 170 units. Urban homeworks currently has a portfolio inventory of 119 multi-family rental units, 29 single family homes, and 12 vacant lots for future single family new construction. Rehabilitation of housing:our model for rehabilitating housing leverages our housing development and construction process to maximize the economic and social benefit to the communities we serve. Reclaiming abandoned/foreclosed properties is a cost-effective approach to increasing the housing supply in the twin cities. We have looked at our real estate development efforts and determined the investment can do more than just add much needed housing units; our affordable housing investments are directly tied to our efforts to trigger both a housing and economic recovery through partnerships, hands-on training and job creation. Through collaboration, our model is designed to expand economic opportunities and the economic impact of our work in the communities we serve through localized hiring of underutilized local, minority, female and section 3 subcontractors and trainees; deliberate training of individuals with barriers to work and at-risk youth; job connections and job creation. This component of our program ensures dollars invested in housing remain in the community in which they are intended to benefit - thus layering the impact of the housing development investment. All construction training completed on urban homeworks' worksites are done in partnership with our training partners: goodwill easter seals and tree trust's youthbuild programming. Construction skills trainees are male and female localized residents in our service area who are unemployed and low-income households and under employed prior to entry into the program. Many have barriers to full time employment prior to program participation. Construction skills training activities occur on our housing development work-sites. Through deliberate project design, we have embedded high-touch work force development with hard construction skills training. Volunteers are an essential component to our programming. In 2014, 1,188 volunteers worked alongside our subcontractors and trainees, donating 3,183 volunteer days on urban homeworks' job sites and to our programming efforts. In late 2013, as part of our effort to collectively grow the economic impact in our community, urban homeworks launched our urban construction company (uc2). Uc2 is a social venture designed to engage low-income, at-risk youth that have completed construction training through our partner tree trust and wish to work in the construction trades, but lack sufficient job experience to attain full-time employment. Our pilot provides paid, benefited position with deliberate job skill development specific to building codes and core building competencies of concrete/masonry, general carpentry and building processes. As we enter our second summer of the pilot, we have 100% retention of the initial cohort with an additional crew member added during the summer of 2014. The work sites are deliberately utilized as a space to learn with support. The uc2 staff are on-site as mentors and teachers while holding the crew responsible to the work. The hours spent alongside their mentors and their peers shingling roofs, paving driveways, building stairs and decks, etc. Has resulted in a level of experience and commitment that could not have been achieved in a traditional training program. Our model uses the experience of work well done to educate and motivate our crew. These "real-world" skills will serve them well as they enter into the construction trades, continue with their education or another chosen field of work.

rental programs -occupancy of housing:housing - rental programming - our restored units are well-built, maintained, affordable rental opportunities for individuals and families priced out of many twin cities rental markets. Partnerships with local social service organizations provide additional support by serving as advocates for the residents and providing necessary social services. Resources from these social service partners, combined with a supportive landlord and quality, dignified housing, weave a web of support for program participants. Through stable, dignified rental properties, individuals are able to become part of their community support structures, schools and economic opportunities. Housing - ownership programming - project: reclaim preserves existing affordable housing by capturing properties that have not been maintained as viable units by market forces, and restores them to their highest use: perpetually affordable homeownership opportunities that are contributing physical assets for the neighborhood. Project: reclaim mitigates the economic and social impact of underutilized, vacant and/or foreclosed single family homes. Project: reclaim hinges on a responsible contract for deed which allows families to begin living in the home while they participate in financial literacy training carefully designed to provide the opportunity for adequate credit repair and deep financial education tied to financial stability and home ownership. Families accepted into the program are coached extensively by urban homeworks' staff and commit to developing and executing a detailed, individual work plan starting with homestrech classes followed by pre-purchase classes at city of lakes community land trust, financial literacy/budgeting classes at buildwealth mn or lutheran social services and regularly scheduled monthly check-ins with urban homeworks' staff along with quarterly financial reviews to ensure financial goals and benchmarks are being met. The financial education commitment continues for as long as a participant is in the contract for deed program (typically 2-5 years). Unique to our model is our high-touch, real-world application of financial learning. We are connecting instruction to outcomes applicable to individual families. The depth of this combined learning/application experience creates true financial knowledge and long-range planning that extends to reducing debt, decreasing monthly housing related expenses, setting and adhering to a monthly budget, increasing credit scores and finding ways to increase or stabilize streams of income. The impact of our committed approach to financial literacy has resulted in improved financial health for our participants over time: " the average participant initial credit score is 560. " the average participant final/current credit score is 621. " the average credit score increase is 61 points. " the average annual increase is 42 points. (participants' time in programming varies). Northside home partnership is programmatically similar to project: reclaim, but is specific to north minneapolis. In partnership with project for pride in living, urban homeworks will purchase and renovate over time a total of 100 single-family homes. The homes will be rented to families; households will attend financial training until they qualify for a mortgage to purchase the home. All homes will ultimately be sold to owner occupied households. Community engagement:urban homeworks' approach to community engagement is rooted in the goal that all programs we operate are inextricably linked to the authentic expression of the community's vision. Through a continual feedback loop from acquisition through occupancy, we are building a collaborative web of dovetailed expertise to collectively build sustainable, equitable solutions across the social and economic continuum of the twin cities. Engagement work happens on a resident level through informal and formal networks, neighborhood events, connections with resources in the community, participation in urban homeworks planning and work, and many other opportunities as our pods grow organically and respond to real-time conditions. Pod areas are determined by having both high instances of housing instability and a high need for engagement to build community networks. As part of our community engagement effort, we have developed our unique urban neighbors program which places "urban neighbors" in one unit of a small multi-family building, typically a duplex, triplex or fourplex. The urban neighbor community is a faith-motivated, ministry-of presence experience for college students and working professionals. Urban neighbors volunteer 2-3 hours per week under the leadership of other organizations already working in the community. To date, these hours have been served at more than 40 nonprofits including dinomights, kinship, english learning center, american indian oic, neighborhood schools and churches, and many more.

other programsincludes other community development activities not directly related to the rental or real estate development programs, but are in line with the organization's mission.

2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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More Info

(612) 724-9002
www.urbanhomeworks.org

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Reviews for Urban Homeworks

Rating: 5 stars  

As a volunteer, I came onsite hoping to do my thing, feel good, and get outta there - on to the rest of my life and back to my schedule. I expected I'd walk away feeling bad about the amount of need in certain communities. Instead, I walked away completely humbled by the information that I was given, the "Doodle", the beautiful people that are intentionally building and inhabiting stronger neighborhoods, and the degree to which Urban Homeworks staffers are enmeshed in it all. I walked away inspired and reevelauting my agenda in the first place. I look forward to going back and to supporting this strong organization.

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I work nationally as a consultant and trainer to housing development nonprofits. These travels allow me to have many conversations with leadership and front line staff in all parts of the country with regard to best practices, challenges, and sustainable impact. Urban Homeworks is by far the most creative, productive, and innovative community development organizations in the entire country. And to top it all off, they do what they do in true parttnership with the entire community and with a faith-based mission in the heart of the city!

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been supporting Urban Homeworks for over a decade, and as a 100 Gives 100 monthly donor for 5 years or so. Here's why: I find myself "refreshed" and impressed how they creatively approach challenging issues in their target communities. Lets be honest: there does not seem to be a whole lot of creativity or innovation coming from most non-profits or ministries when it comes to addressing the issues/needs in poor communities. But time and time again Urban Homeworks is creatively combining marketplace expertise with informed compassion with impressive outcomes. Well done!

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I'm not an "evangelist" but I feel I make a difference by volunteering with Urban Homeworks to renovate homes and apartments that benefit people who normally couldn't afford dignified housing. One house, one apartment at a time we are making a difference and improving the lives of others. Urban Homeworks is a concientious steward of the donations they receive, always working to maximize the benefit of donations through volunteer labor and great leadership.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

Urban Homeworks is the one organization that our members at Westbrook Community Church love to volunteer for and to support! From top to bottom the Urban Homeworks staff is top-notch and passionate about their mission within the community, neighborhood and families that they serve. They utilize their resources in a manner that is unmatched and you will not find a better non-profit organization. All in the name of Christ - Yeah!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

We have had UHW on our list of favorite non-profit organization for more than five years. As members of Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina, it has been a great joy to participate in several work weekends and with the QuickSilver volunteers. UHW's impact on their community has been considerable, not only in housing, but most assuredly on the lives of many. One Hudred for a Hundred, a rent subsidy program, has been very successful.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

My family and I have been donating financially and with our "talents" to Urban Homeworks for 4 years now, and have witnessed the dramatic and real impact this group has on dignified housing and community building in Minneapolis. The group is forward-thinking and operates beyond the four walls they are dedicated to putting around people/families. Their commitment to neighborhood as a state of being is inspiring and effective. Please help to support this incredible organization.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 4 stars  

My involvement with Urban Homeworks began over two years as a result of a St Marks fundraiser. Over the past two years, I have volunteered twice a week and have observed firsthand how this organization has helped build community and restore housing in North Minneapolis. They have provided gainful employment, mentoring opportunities, and both work skills and life skills to various individuals (and organizations) in the community. Along the way, I have also increased my own home building/restoring skills and learned how to use power tools more effectively. Keep up the good work!!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I had the opportunity to work with Urban Homeworks last year. I really admire the difference they are making in the community for so many people. This is a great organization to donate your time with. They are able to use any level of help with their projects. I painted and cleaned a home and had a great time with the other volunteers. It is really important to get involved in our communities and this is a fantastic way to do it! I highly recommend donating some of your time to this great organization.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been volunteering with UHW for about 3 years now, I started doing it with my church and now have become the contact between other volunteers at my church and UHW. This is a great place for men and women to get involved no matter what your skill level is. I like that aspect of it because it allows a diverse group of people to get out, be in Minneapolis, and doing something productive with their hands. I love that they always share the story of who UHW is and what they are trying to do, this not only allows volunteers to know that they are needed and appreciated but also know what role they play in the bigger picture. I have enjoyed working with many people at UHW and look forward to finding more ways for our church to get involved through making gift baskets, connecting with other inner city churches, and hearing the stories of hope coming out of this organization!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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