There’s a new single-family home going up on Fillmore Street near Spring, and it’s being built by volunteers. Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, which gets more than a hundred families into homes each year, estimates that by the end of 2019 at least 900 people from local companies, churches, and individuals themselves will have helped build this house, which will be home to a Somali family with 11 children. The homebuyers themselves put in hundreds of hours of “sweat equity” on the construction. Thrivent is the major sponsor.
Habitat Project Systems Supervisor Chad Dipman says building anywhere in Northeast is a rarity, because lots are more expensive and the City, from which Habitat gets a lot of its sites, has few if any lots available here. The Fillmore Street property was a tax forfeiture.
The house is a four-bedroom design, with a double garage. Among its features are an EnergyStar certification and a solar-ready electrical system (future solar panels can be easily adapted). The house is “visitable,” with a ramp and a zero threshold, allowing people in wheelchairs easy entrance and mobility. Habitat worked with Beltrami Neighborhood Council’s Housing and Livability Committee, which Habitat Project Manager Moira Baltz described as “very supportive of this project.”
While this home was financed by a typical Habitat mortgage, a new program is now in place to buy houses on the open market. Habitat Communications Manager Kaitlyn Dormer said, “Qualified homebuyers can get a pre-approval from us, work with a real estate agent of their choice and find a home that fits their budget. They access the same financial coaching, homeownership courses and affordable mortgage as other buyers. All buyers have mortgage payments set at no more than 30% of their gross monthly income and are financed by a wholly-owned mortgage subsidiary, TCHFH Lending, Inc. The new option means we can serve more clients. We’re able to reach a broader income range, including those who may think their income is too high to qualify for Habitat.”
Total development cost for the Fillmore Street house is $320,000, with a sale price of $295,000. The city of Minneapolis covers the gap through their Minneapolis Homes program. Closing is expected in January 2020.
Below: The new home on Fillmore Street and volunteers from the Northwest Churches Coalition. (Photos by Mark Peterson)