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2019 Projects

House of Hope

On this project, the Housing First Minnesota Foundation/HomeAid Twin Cities partnered with Homes by Tradition as the build partner to renovate the 800-square-foot parsonage on the Emmaus Lutheran Church lot. The restoration project included a new kitchen, appliances, floors, bathroom, walkway, basement, HVAC, and paint. The House of Hope was restored from top to bottom. The house will serve as transitional housing for women and their children who are facing severe life crises. Some of the women have been incarcerated and separated from their babies, while others are seeking mental health services or struggling with chemical dependency issues or unemployment.


2018 Projects

MACV Project

The Housing First Minnesota Foundation/HomeAid Twin Cities and build partner Lennar worked on the construction of a second home to be donated to Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV). This five-bedroom home will be used by MACV to house homeless women veterans, a population of the community that MACV says is in growing need of services. The Maplewood lot for this home was donated by an anonymous donor to the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® (MAAR) Foundation who transferred the lot to the Foundation. 





AVIVO Project

Four units of an eight-unit brownstone apartment building in Minneapolis received a complete overhaul with the help of build partners, The Kingdom Builders and Crystal Kitchen + Bath. The updates included new flooring, paint, millwork, cabinets and appliances.

AVIVO specializes in proving services to women who find themselves struggling with repeated addiction relapse, co-occurring chemical and mental health diagnoses, homelessness, criminal backgrounds, or desire to re-unify with their children. This facility houses women along with their children as they seek services for substance addiction.



Renovation for Homeward Bound

The Housing First Minnesota Foundation and build partners, Minnesota Rusco and Contract Interiors, celebrated the completion of their latest project for Homeward Bound this January. The project included the renovation of two bathrooms and new flooring in a Brooklyn Park residence that houses 32 individuals with disabilities.

These renovations will allow for much easier access and safety measures within the bathrooms. The durable, high-quality carpeting will provide a more welcoming environment for many years to come.


2017 Projects

A New Home for Veteran Families

 This summer, the Housing First Minnesota Foundation and build partner Lennar worked in collaboration with the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) to build a five-bedroom residence to house veteran families as they transition from homelessness. Owned and operated by MACV, the home is a special place for veteran families as they receive the support and tools they need to get back on their feet. 

The project, an accessible, high-tech single-family home designed and built by Lennar and its charitable parters, was completed in just nine weeks. It is the first home MACV will operate that provides housing for homeless veteran families. The progress of the MACV home was live-stremed online and gave everyone who watched a look at the hard work and dedication put into the project.

St. Michael Project

The Housing First Minnesota Foundation teamed up with Minnesota Design and Construction to update a kitchen and address safety issues in a group home run by the Saint Michael Foundation, a charitable organization established to provide financial and educational assistance to individuals with developmental delays.

There are four residents at the St. Michael Foundation-Ash House. They are a lively group of hardworking men with special needs who love to cook and spend time in their kitchen. The existing kitchen was a tight fit when occupied by two individuals. Since all residents must be accompanied by a staff person when preparing meals, there were always at least two people in the kitchen at a time. The kitchen entryway was near a set of stairs, which posted a safety concern when multiple people were occupying the kitchen. The St. Michael Foundation staff was especially concerned with the location of the stairs for one blind resident in the home.

A Room for Rachel

The Housing First Minnesota Foundation has big plans for a deserving girl! Rachel is an exceptional 12-year-old in many ways. She loves music and sings in her school choir. She is active in Circus Juventas and theatre. She’s a world traveler, visiting Paris, Belgium and China. 

Two years ago, Rachel experienced a series of health events that led to a diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease and a type of malformation of the spine. For more than two years, Rachel’s world has consisted of hospitals (her longest stay was 86 days!), doctors and multiple surgeries. Because of her illness, Rachel is homebound much of the time and has missed a lot of school. Rachel’s bedroom can only be described as tiny and that has lead her to spending much of her time at home in the family’s dark and partially finished basement. Rachel would love to have a space in her basement fixed up for her to do crafts, her schoolwork and hang out with her friends. The Housing First Minnesota Foundation, Special Spaces and Ispiri LLC. have teamed up to create such a space for Rachel.


It was an emotional reveal as Rachel Dickinson stepped into her newly remodeled basement for the first time! The Housing First Minnesota Foundation, Special Spaces, and build partner Ispiri were happy to present her with an amazing space that she will be able to use for years to come.


2016 Projects

Bernal Project

During the last week of June, Jonathan Bernal, an Army veteran who was injured during the Iraq War, received much-needed assistance repairing the exterior of his Oakdale home. The American Building Contractors, Inc. teamed up with the Housing First Minnesota Foundation to cover all associated costs for the extensive repairs. According to Bernal, the siding had been a problem on his Heath Avenue North home for about three years.

It had gotten so bad that birds had begun to live in the walls, especially the walls around his daughter's bedroom. "She was afraid that the birds were going to get her at night," Bernal said about 4-year old Macy. Bernal and his wife, Theresa, also have an 8-year old son, Alex. Bernal said it will be a relief to have the house repaired because so many things could have gone wrong as a result of the deteriorating siding, including an electrical fire or mold damage. "I couldn't afford any of this, ... I wouldn't be able to get approved for a loan or anything," he added.

ABC donated all the labor and management for the three-day project, and the Housing First Minnesota Foundation paid for the materials except for the shingles, which were donated. 


Volunteer Day/Jemelka Project

Jason served 8 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, completed 3 tours in Iraq and now serves in the Minnesota National Guard. His wife Genella suffers from medical complications related to several surgeries and can no longer work. Because of the medical expenses, there is little left over for home repairs.

Thanks to Bachman's donation of plants and other materials, volunteers helped landscape the front lawn and install trenching to keep water from the house. With a generous donation of flooring from Focal Point Flooring the Jemelkas kitchen and a bathroom floor was ripped up and replaced. Volunteers hooked up appliances donated by Pulte - including a dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, and washer and dryer. Lastly, volunteers set up a new playset donated by the -Housing First Minnesota Foundation for the Jemelkas 3 children.

Lyman Lumber provided lunch for the volunteers from "Not Just a Bar" in Stillwater. Donated windows and a few interior doors from Sherco Construction will be installed in the coming weeks. A concrete slab on the house was replaced by the -Housing First Minnesota Foundation earlier this year after the old slab started to sink into the house and cause the basement foundation to start to buckle.

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped make a difference for this deserving family! Thanks to these Housing First Minnesota members who donated product and/or labor: Bachman's Floral Gift & Garden, FocalPoint Flooring, Lyman Lumber, Pulte Homes of MN, Soderbeck Design


Homecoming for Marco Solt

Feet were cold but hearts were warm as more than a hundred people, including Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, gathered together in November to welcome Army Spc. Marco Solt and his family to their brand new, specially-adapted home. Built in partnership with local builders Accent Homes and Homes for Our Troops, the mortgage-free home features more than 40 special adaptations to help Marco, who lost both legs on a tour in Afghanistan. 



Remodeling the "Blue Bird House" with Homeward Bound

In 2015, the Housing First Minnesota Foundation also made dreams come true for the residents and staff of Blue Bird House, a group home operated by Homeward Bound. Plymouth based Homeward Bound was formed by a group of parents who needed a high level of medical care for their children, but wanted a more home-like atmosphere than a nursing home could provide. 

Today, four medically fragile men at Homeward Bound’s Bluebird House are now enjoying a more comfortable and spacious home thanks to the Housing First Minnesota Foundation and local remodeler Vujovich Design Build. The home has been transformed by the addition of a light filled great room, the addition of a second bathroom and bedroom, more storage and a first floor laundry room. While the entire renovation wasn’t quite finished, the men at Bluebird House recently celebrated their first holiday season in their new digs.  All indications are that they thoroughly approve!



Finishing Karen's Basement

Karen was a Surgical RN when she needed to have emergency back surgery. During the surgery something went very wrong and Karen was left with brain damage that resulted in an extreme sensitivity to light. 

Six years ago she used some of her settlement money to remodel her basement. Unfortunately, an unscrupulous contractor took advantage of Karen and left her with a flooded basement and most of the work uncompleted. However, Karen has not been one to let her disability get her down. She often does things for her neighbors after dark and has been known to plow her neighbor's driveways after snowfalls. Working through Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, the Housing First Minnesota Foundation and Build Partner Finished Basement Company, will be helping Karen complete her basement project. 


2014 Projects


Zach's House

When her son Zach Mohs was hit and left for dead on an Anchorage street in September of 2012, doctors told Cheryl Young that her son would not survive. They would try to keep him alive until she could get there. Cheryl never gave up her firm belief that Zach would not only survive, but that he would someday walk again.

After getting Zack through his darkest times, Cheryl had him transferred to the Courage Center in Golden Valley for his long journey back to recovery. Zach defied all expectations that this accident would cripple him and transform his life for the worst; some of the doctors had never seen such an amazing recovery.

Cheryl then rallied friends and family around her personal dream: an accessible home for Zach that would accommodate his mobility needs, and give him a place where he can continue his recovery. After such a scare and then a amazing recovery, there was no doubt in Cheryl's mind that Zach would ever be defeated by his injuries. She spent several months turning her dream for Zach into reality. House plans were donated, a lot in South St. Paul was purchased and a foundation put in. Then, Cheryl approached the Housing First Minnesota Foundation for help. Her steadfast belief in her son and his remarkable progress moved Foundation staff and volunteers alike.

Thanks to enormous support from Build Partner JK Anderson, the partnership of Rebuilding Together, Barn Raisings, and the Twin Cities building community, Cheryl’s dream of a home for Zach was finally completed in June 2014.


Special Spaces Minneapolis: Eli's Bedroom and Kate the Great

The Housing First Minnesota Foundation partnered with Special Spaces Minneapolis, a subdivision of a national organization that donates custom rooms to children with life-threatening illnesses. Together, they hosted a design competition in order to remodel Eli's room. The competition was rigorous, and the winning design was selected at the April Builders and Remodelers Show.

The design firm Che Bella Interiors won, with a few modifications made to the original plan. They even remodeled the entire room themselves. This was certainly something out of the norm for them! In early June, the room was 100% completed.

What Eli loves most is the new racetrack on his wall; he can place different cars on it and have his own races in his room! The Che Bella team also added some clever storage spaces; the steps to the top of the bunk bed are actually pull-out drawers. And of course, it wouldn't be fair if brother Eli received all the attention, so his sister's room was given a fresh coat of paint and Emma received some presents she loved! 

Kate the Great has Stage II Pfeiffer Syndrome, which makes her bedroom even more difficult. Besides needing a special space where she can forget about all her worries, she needs a 24 nursing station as well. Bob Michels Construction led the way as our Build Partner on this project, and his daughter, Danielle did most of the design! Her mom told us that since the project began, Kate kept trying to sneak into the room and see the finished result-when she finally got to see it she signed "Like" in ASL with a very big grin! 


2013 Projects

Rebuilding Together Twin Cities 

Our partnership with Rebuilding Together Twin Cities continued with two small projects designed to make housing safer for our Twin Cities community members.  Nancy Davis-Ortiz is a retired Army reservist and single mom who needed some help with with damaged floors. Our Builder Partner Village Floor donated new flooring and installation. John Boyle has been suffering from the long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury, and he contacted Rebuilding Together Twin Cities to ask for help repairing his back stairs. Currently unusable, his steps need to be repaired to give John a second fire exit.


Minneapolis Veterans Administration 

Vietnam Veteran David Davidson and his wife Penny are safe and secure at home thanks to a partnership with the VA.  A former marathon runner, Dave began to experience neurological problems which eventually led to his inability to work. A diagnosis remained elusive despite visits to Mayo clinic and repeated visits to the VA Hospital. Without a diagnosis, VA benefits did not kick in and the couple were dependent on Penny's medical insurance.  As bills piled up it became clear that Dave would soon need to be in wheelchair. Their modest south Minneapolis home would need renovation to accommodate their new lifestyle. The Housing First Minnesota Foundation worked with Builder Partner, John Kraemer and Sons, to provide for a complete bathroom remodel, widening of doorways and the completion of other small projects designed to make the Davidson's more comfortable in their beloved home. In an magnanimous move, this project was funded completely  by donations from John Kraemer and Sons and their suppliers.  Update: Dave has recently received a diagnosis of ALS.


Project for Pride in Living 

We completed a project for a single mom and grandmother who were the victim of an irresponsible house-flipper. Sonya thought she had purchased her dream home, only to find that the "repairs" completed were cosmetic and her home needed thousands of dollars of improvements to make it safe for her and her family; some of the issues included toxic lead paint and inadequate ventilation in the home. Our Builder Partner Thompson Exteriors reached out and partnered with the Foundation on this project.


Projects in 2012


Rebuilding Together Twin Cities Partnership 

The Foundation partnered with Rebuilding Together Twin Cities and Builder Partner Ironwood Carpentry to repair three North Minneapolis homes to contribute to the safety and well being of the families who live there.


Jablonski Accessibility Project 

Awad & Koontz Architects Builders Inc. and Kuhl Design & Build partnered with the Foundation to remodel the home of Jack Jablonski, a High School sophomore who took a paralyzing hit during a hockey game in 2011. The Foundation managed the incoming donations and funding process of the project.


Veteran Renovation 

With the help of builder partner, Soderbeck Design and Construction, the Foundation repaired and renovated the home of this wounded Veteran. Noah was injured in Kuwait and needed a number of changes to his home to ensure his safety and comfort.


History of Projects


2011: Built a new home in partnership  with Habitat for Humanity. Thanks to many volunteers and project manager Mike McCalvy, Housing First Minnesota Emeritus member.

2011: Renovated the home of wounded Veteran Wesley in two phases. Thank you to our Builder Partner James Barton Design Build.

2011: Finished the lower level to create more bedroom and bath space for the Vangs.Thank you to our Builder Partner Showcase Renovations.

2010: ReBuild Haiti in partnership with World Wide Village where teams of Housing First Minnesota Builders lent their expertise to construct homes in earthquake shattered Haiti.

2010: Foundation volunteers constructed our Foundation Chalet which has been used for promotion of the Foundation and rented out.

2010: Built a fence with Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners in Wayzata.

2010: Remodeled a home for Brady in Eden Prairie.

2008: Operation Dream Makeover, the complete renovation of the home for a wounded Iraq war veteran.

2008: A new home in the Lowell Curve neighborhood of Minneapolis in partnership with Project for Pride in Living, and build partner Lake Country Builders.

2007: A new home in the Frogtown area with build partner Aulik & Associates, Inc.

2006: A new home in the Frogtown area with build partner Bruggeman Homes and another home in the area in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.

2004: Two new duplexes (four homes) in the Frogtown area with Build Partner Rottlund Homes.

2001: Five new homes in a Habitat for Humanity development in Burnsville.

2001: A new home in the Frogtown area constructed by Foundation volunteers.

2000: A new home in the Frogtown area builds during the MN State Fair, and then and moved to its home site.

2000: A new home in the Frogtown area constructed by Foundation volunteers.

1998: A new home in the Frogtown area constructed by Foundation volunteers.

1997: A new home in the Frogtown area constructed by Foundation volunteers.

1994: A fully renovated home in the Frogtown area constructed by Foundation volunteers.

1993: A renovation in Wayzata in partnership with Interfaith Outreach.

1992: A remodeled home in Richfield in partnership with Cornerstone Advocacy Group.


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Roseville, MN 55113


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