Phillips Partnership Housing Stabilization Initiative

2009-2011

Goals

The Phillips Partnership Housing Stabilization Initiative was created to stabilize existing homeowners, move foreclosed properties into responsible hands, and prevent foreclosures where possible.

New Focus Area

In consultation with neighborhood residents and community development advisors, the Committee recommended focusing on the area bounded by Elliot to 12th Avenue, and between 24th and Lake Street.

Program Focus

Also, find out about the Initiative Commitments and the Project Development Process.

Home Improvement Grants

Perhaps the most visible results of the Phillips Partnership Housing Stabilization Initiative are the Home Improvement Grants.  The Phillips Partnership offerred grants up to $7,500 to homeowners in the Project Focus Area whose income is below 80% of area median, to pay for exterior improvements or other necessary health and safety improvements to their homes.  This program was administered by Project for Pride in Living (PPL), who distributed exterior improvement grant information packets each spring to all households in the target area and chosen participants by lottery.  Sixteen participants were accepted each year in 2009 and 2010, and eighteen were accepted in 2011, for a total of 60 grants. 

There have been a wide variety of projects, from landscaping to roof and siding replacement. Thanks to the funds, some of the homes have gone through amazing transformations. One participant did the work himself, installing a new roof and siding on his house and the garage. The bids he received were at least $30,000 for that work, but he was able to do it with the help of some friends for around $10,000.  Not only did the participants use the grant for aesthetic repairs, one of the homeowners used the funds for safety reasons. She put in security lighting so she felt safer walking from her garage into her house late at night.

As for the participants, they are pleased with the results. One homeowner was delighted to be able to go into her back yard again with her grandkids on her new patio. She was also able to fix her leaky roof that was causing water damage in her kitchen. Another participant felt relieved to have the railing reinforced so it was not wobbly when he walked up and down his steps. He also got his patio door fixed to eliminate significant drafts in his kitchen. The homeowners were very satisfied with the work they chose to complete.

See More Home Improvement Grant Photos.

Downpayment Assistance

Downpayment assistance loans up to $5,000 each at zero percent interest, forgivable over five years were offered to anyone buying a home in the Project Focus Area.  A more limited number of loans were targeted at the Midtown Exchange condos on the Midtown Greenway.  This program was administered by Project for Pride in Living (PPL).  In 2009 and 2010, seven $10,000 loans and four $5,000 were awarded.

Foreclosure Prevention and Housing Resource Guide

The Phillips Partnership sought to connect neighborhood homeowners with foreclosure prevention resources. The Partnership and Project for Pride in Living prepared the Phillips Housing Resources Guide as an outreach tool to engage area residents and inform them of available resources.  Click here for a copy of the Phillips Housing Resource Guide.   

Informational flyers about the June mortgage modification event held by Wells Fargo were distributed in Project Focus Area. This modification event was geared toward homeowners with Wells Fargo loans who are behind on their payments.  Wells Fargo staff worked with lenders to modifty loans and were successful in achieving modifications for about half of the homeowners who attended.

Landlord Tenant Website

A proposal for the Phillips Community Landlord Tenant website was awarded Housing Initiative funds.  While stabilizing homeownership is an important priority, the fact remains that the Phillips neighborhoods have a very high percentage of rental property, totally 78 percent of property.  The Minneapolis Police believe that problems with absentee landlords correlate significantly to general livability crime in the neighborhood – crimes committed by tenants living in poorly managed rental properties.  As one strategy to stabilize rental housing, this Initiative helped establish a landlord-tenant outreach site to connect responsible landlords with tenants, provide useful information for landlords to assist their property management, and build on existing Phillips Community Rental Property Workshops. 

This website, a nominee for a City of Minneapolis 2009 Neighborhood Project of the Year award, was developed by a local resident who has worked extensively in conjunction with the Minneapolis Police on these successful landlord workshops.  Funding by the Phillips Partnership Housing Initiative was matched by area neighborhood organizations. 

Commitments

Phillips Partners’ Commitment

Three Phillips Partners )Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Children’s Hospitals & Clinics, and Wells Fargo) pledged $425,000 to this Housing Stabilization Initiative, and the Partnership will raised an additional $100,000 from other sources.

City of Minneapolis Commitment: Minneapolis Advantage Match

The City of Minneapolis utilized federal and state housing resources through its Neighborhood Stabilization Program and other efforts to provide additional funding in tandem with the Partnership initiative.  The City launched Phase II of the Minneapolis Advantage program in 2009 to provide $10,000 in downpayment assistance to eligible homebuyers.  Seven homebuyers used $10,000 each in downpayment assistance within the Project Focus Area in 2009.

Project Development Process

The Phillips Partnership’s Housing Committee, drawn from neighborhood residents, City and County staff, the police department, non-profit housing groups, and institutional partners--reviewed housing needs in this part of the neighborhood, interviewed residents, and developed a preliminary framework for a new housing initiative. The Committee also held four meetings with neighborhood residents in 2008-09. One resident member on the Committee also serves on the Board and the Housing Task Force for the Midtown Phillips Association.