Sheltering the homeless with a helping hand – Multifamily Real Estate News

Lev Sichelman

Housing is the key to tackling homelessness. But that’s not the solution per se, according to a new report from the Urban Institute. Rather, the provision of a comprehensive range of social services is just as important.

This, of course, is a sentiment that has long been voiced by many trying to solve the homeless epidemic. However, the same applies to the provision of affordable housing for low-income families. At least, it’s one that’s been embraced by an Upper Midwest charity that has built more than 7,000 rental units in about 110 affordable communities over 50 years.

common bond, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in St. Paul, Minnesota, bases its philosophy on the stability and independence of its residents. From there, the charity provides education and advancement services, e.g. B. Resume and job application assistance, community building services to empower residents to connect and shape their communities, and wellness services to promote healthy living.


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The charity’s Advantage Services program is “what sets us apart,” said Sheila Swift, a CommonBond fundraising officer Multihousing News. “It’s a unique model. It is completely resident-centric.”

And now, for the first time, CommonBond will also offer childcare services to residents of its latest project and to those in the nearby community. In partnership with Rise Early and in collaboration with way to growthe affordable housing charity will include a 62-person childcare center at its new Rise on 7 Apartment property in St. Louis Park, a western suburb of Minneapolis.

The Rise Early Learning Center will support youth’s developmental needs “holistically and equitably” to “promote (their) long-term social, emotional, and academic success.” Way to Grow will provide early childhood education and family services from birth through 3rd grade.

Residents can reserve places at cheaper prices than others.

Groundbreaking for the five-story, 120-unit rise took place in early August on August 7. Completion is expected next September. It targets households earning 60 percent or less of the area average, but in some cases as little as 40 percent. According to CommonBond CEO Diedre Schmidt, this applies to families whose income is between 30,000 and 60,000 US dollars per year.

In addition, six housing units will be provided as care homes for the homeless, who receive a subsidy and pay 30 percent of their income towards the rent.

In addition to the self-managed day care center on the ground floor, the property will have a bicycle parking space, a playground, some green spaces and underground and underground parking spaces. Dead lots and computer and common rooms will also be included.

The idea of ​​offering childcare “came to us” from the local Westwood Lutheran Church, according to Gift Officer Swift. The church was once on the Rise on 7 property and wanted to “leave a legacy” when it sold the property to CommonGround. It “linked” the charity and Rise Early, but it still took “three years” to form the partnership, she said.

Eviction prevention and community building

Childcare seems to fit perfectly with CommonBond’s integrated approach to affordable housing. “We are helping to achieve stability and independence for families,” CEO Schmidt told local National Public radio station when the project broke ground on August 3. It’s been difficult, we’re seeing phenomenal results.”

Services are provided as needed, but at its core are eviction prevention and community building events. Enhanced health and welfare activities, employment support and financial services are also offered, as are homework centers, homework ‘buddies’ and youth programs. According to the charity, 2,500 residents participated in community-building events last year and 125 found employment through its services.

The charity is supported by volunteers and is funded through institutional donations, individual and corporate donations, tax credit funding, and income from rentals and property management services, according to Gift Officer Swift. To build Rise on 7, it had to access 16 funding pools, which Schmidt says is way too many.

“I think (what) needs to happen for us to be more effective and efficient when building affordable housing to be able to work with fewer sources,” she told NPR.

CommonBond operates in three states – Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa – and operates rental apartments and townhouses for 13,000 people. It has 96 properties in Minnesota, 11 in Wisconsin and nine in Iowa.

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