Archive for November, 2015

What Sets Us Apart

Posted on: November 12th, 2015

Alliance Housing is 25 years old.  Though many things have changed over time such as staff, leadership, office address, and numbers of properties owned. Our mission and values have remained steadfast.  We believe the totality of the following attributes are what sets us apart from most housing agencies and organizations, and make us good stewards of the gifts we’ve received over the years from many generous individuals and foundations.

  • We’re in the business of housing people – not screening them out. Everyone deserves a 2nd
  • Our operations and decision making begins with the lives and realities of our tenants – balanced with the bottom line. We’ve kept our rents some of the most affordable in the market.
  • Our resources primarily cover property management operations and tenant services – not administration, fundraising and marketing. We’re lean and effective.
  • Our supportive housing program rewards people for working. Coaching helps parents learn new skills that can help them sustain housing and advance in employment long term.

Remaining committed to these attributes has allowed us to establish a critical niche in the affordable housing world. That may sound like standard nonprofit marketing claims but we’ve got evidence to back it up.  Our phones ring off the hook from people who are denied housing because of their criminal, housing or credit history.  A quick survey of our scattered site rental property tenants indicates that up to  70% have criminal issues in their background.  Many of these tenants have also been homeless or stuck in low wage jobs.  Because they’ve been poor, many have eviction, unpaid rent and other bills in their past.  Alliance’s 2nd chance policy gives them the opportunity to prove they can be a good tenant.  And most are, – they pay their rent, mostly on time, and respect their apartment and neighbors.  As a result, our uncollected rent and loss from vacant units is under 5%.

Our tenant’s wellbeing is a core focus in everything we do, from budget changes to our board selection processes.  At budget preparation time, the board is always cognizant of the impacts any rent related changes will have on our tenants, especially those living on fixed incomes.  Tenants have a direct voice in board decisions because they make up 25% of its members.

In regards to use of our resources, our audit has tracked our expenses over the years to be around 94% programs, 4% management and 2% fundraising.  Our management and fundraising percentages have never been higher than 8%.

Our 34 families who are participating in our Northside Supportive Housing for Families program are demonstrating higher wages and monthly income the longer they participate.  They earn a $200-$300 monthly subsidy when they are working 25-35 hours per month.  This gives them a cushion in their monthly budget which helps with saving money and paying off old bills.  Some of them are experiencing the longest tenure in housing and employment.  In more traditional public rent assistance programs, their subsidies would be higher if they were unemployed – creating (we believe) a disincentive to work.

Meet Our Tenant: Sandra Mosley

Posted on: November 10th, 2015

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Sandra Mosley has been with Alliance Housing since 2007. She currently lives in one of the studio apartments, having come from one of the shared duplexes. She moved to Minneapolis from her hometown of Chicago in 1998.

Sandra was working at Mystic Lake seven years ago, and lost her job. She struggled with illness and surgery. She had no job and no place to call home. She was homeless, staying at 1010 Currie.

While working at a temp agency, she was sent to the Star Tribune on a work assignment. She was tired of working temp jobs and so asked a worker there if he would give her a reference. He agreed, and the next day she was called in for an interview which led to a part time job with the company.

One of her co-workers at the temp agency was renting a room with Alliance Housing and told her about us. She called Bob, (our south side property manager) and was offered a room where she lived for 5-6 years before moving into her own studio apartment. Sandra currently works full time at the Mall of America, and keeps a very tidy, comfortable, and homey place.

Sandra says; “I am blessed—Alliance Housing helps you keep housing, they are flexible and understanding. I am glad to be here, I appreciate them. When I was at my lowest, Alliance Housing was there for me. I want to say, Thank you.”

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