Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Get $5,000 in Hawthorne Advantage Down Payment Assistance!

Post by Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Housing Director.  Photo from a Minnesota Public Radio article on the Hawthorne EcoVillage.

The Hawthorne Neighborhood Council recently revamped its down payment assistance program from a percentage of the sales price to a flat $5,000.  Any owner-occupant purchasing a home in Hawthorne should inquire to CEE about qualifying for this assistance.  The $5,000 is recorded as a lien on the home, although we will go behind virtually any other assistance program.  The loan does not accrue interest and it is forgiven after ten years.

As an aside, it takes a while for each site that lists our down payment assistance to be updated, so even the CEE link references the old program.  That will change shortly.  And a special thanks goes out to a NoMi Realtor extraordinnaire, Constance Nompelis.  Connie did several market analysis reports for the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council board and housing committee.  These reports helped our neighborhood understand what the market was like in Hawthorne, and how we should construct an assistance program that was an appropriate response to housing conditions here.  She provided this service as a volunteer for the community, and we are grateful for her help.

Come and check out home ownership opportunities in Hawthorne!  We've got a great community and $5,000 in assistance for you.

A "Dream Home" Finally Worthy of the Nickname

Before renovation.
Exterior after rehab
Living room/kitchen remodel

Instead of bedrooms like this...
Bedrooms are like this now.
Post by Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Housing Director.  First photo contributed by Alissa Luepke Pier, Hawthorne resident and project architect.  Photos 2-4 and 6 from Aesthetic Eye Photography.  Photo #5 by Jeff Skrenes, originally appearing on North by Northside.

Urban Homeworks continues to impress me.  They took something as drab and dreary as a Dream Home - which even without the exterior that so many in NoMi find distasteful, brings about memories of yet another case of mortgage fraud in this community - and turned it into a house that people would be proud to live in.  Much of the rehab can be attributed to the vision of local architect Alissa Luepke Pier, who designed the facade improvement and re-oriented the front door to create a more comfortable space.

The development project also reconfigured the second floor by removing one of the bedrooms and making the rest of the rooms a little more spacious.  Urban Homeworks staff said that floor looked "too much like a dormitory" before they changed it up.  I thought it compared more to a prison, but in all fairness, I've never been incarcerated, so maybe I'm being too negative towards prisons.

One aspect of this house that made it a viable rehab candidate is that it is what's often referred to as a "second generation Dream Home."  The first round of Dream Homes were slab-on-grade, no basement, no garage, six bedrooms, and baseboard heat.  This one at least had a full basement and a garage, making the other renovations much easier to work with.  If anyone wants to see the property, it's at 2515 Irving Avenue North.  The house has a family as its proud new occupants as well.  If you see them in their yard, make sure to welcome them to NoMi!  And thanks, Urban Homeworks! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

CEE Expands Programs to Support Energy-Efficient Businesses

Post and photo by Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Neighborhood Housing Director

The Center for Energy and Environment has expanded their programs and they are now able to serve businesses throughout the city of Minneapolis and non-profits statewide.  Click here for a matrix of programs.

Free Home Energy Visits Also Generate Funding for Neighborhoods!

Post and photos by Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Housing Director.  Photos originally appeared on the Johnny Northside blog.

Hawthorne board member John Hoff was kind enough to allow me to document his home enegy visit from CEE.  These free home visits include tips on how to make your house more energy-efficient, supplies and materials to make that happen, and information on access to more low-interest home rehab loans.  In case this hasn't been emphasized enough, the visits and materials are FREE to owner-occupants.  The only requirement is that recipients must first attend a workshop (which is ALSO free) put on by the Center for Energy and Environment.  Here are the next two workshop dates:

Thursday, March 24, 6:00 pm
North Regional Library (1315 Lowry Ave N)

Thursday, March 31, 6:30 pm
Salvation Army (2727 Central Ave NE)

For more information, or to reserve a spot, contact Kyle Boehm at kboehm@mncee.org or 612-219-7334.

But wait, there's more!   CEE and the McKnight Foundation have been generous enough to help fund a friendly cross-neighborhood challenge.  There are various levels of awards given out for neighborhood participation.  The more people participate, the greater award each neighborhood may be eligible for.  So here's how it works for you as a Hawthorne resident:  attend a free workshop about energy savings, get free materials that will make your home more energy-efficient, sign up for a free home energy visit where experts can give even more personal tips, AND participating can help fund your neighborhood organization.

So what are you waiting for?  Sign up today?

Flier for upcoming workshops
McKnight Outreach Challenge flier