Archive for November, 2020

Any Donation to Our Expanded Rent Forgiveness Fund Will be Matched by the FS Foundation

Posted on: November 13th, 2020

Since March, Alliance Housing has been able to forgive $1 for every $1 of rent paid by tenants who have lost hours or employment due to COVID or the unrest following the death of George Floyd. The idea of the fund came from Alliance’s staff, who knew that low-wage working adults already had very little margin for recovering from financial setbacks. Getting behind on a month of rent made it nearly impossible to ever catch up. Even though many of our tenants often work multiple part-time jobs, they simply earn too little money to cover basic life obligations.

Alliance was able to take advantage of special COVID and emergency funding opportunities offered by The Constellation Fund, Otto Bremer Trust, and the Minneapolis Foundation’s OneMpls Fund. Individual donors and St. Joan of Arc Partners Program also donated to the cause, providing Alliance Housing just under $30,000 to match tenant rent payments.

We’ve also been given a $30,000 matching funds opportunity by the FS Foundation to increase the rent forgiveness fund and expand it to our larger apartment buildings. The FS Foundation is on a mission to foster independence, self-reliance, pride of craftsmanship, and sense of purpose for under-resourced adults. This matching grant will double your donation to the Alliance Housing Rent Forgiveness Fund and will be a huge relief for tenants who are already living with a lot of stress during these uncertain times.

So far, we’ve assisted 25 households with $17,400 dollars, an average of $695 each ($115 per month). Some tenants have
received multiple matches who are paying smaller amounts over time. As you know, Alliance Housing has always given its
tenants extra time and flexibility in getting caught up with rent during a financial setback.

Felicia and her family have been living in an Alliance duplex since June 2019. Her full-time job at a daycare center is right down the street. When the pandemic brought us lay-offs and stay-at-home orders, her work hours became very sporadic. Recently she’s been getting only 20 to 30 hours per week. Felicia has had the opportunity to get shifts at other daycare franchise locations, but that requires reliable transportation, which until now, she hasn’t needed. Matches for what she can pay makes her feel like she is pulling her own weight despite the reduced hours.


Thomas works at McDonalds. He feels fortunate to still be working at the take-out window. He pays $380 per month for his room. At $12.50 per hour he was able to make ends meet working 30 hours per week. Since the pandemic, his hours have been cut to 10 per week so he now only makes about $500 per month, making paying his rent a heavy lift. He is grateful for the hand up and sleeps better at night with no worries of losing his home.

If you wish to participate in the Rent Forgiveness Fund in collaboration with our generous funders and individual donors, you will be helping hard working people like Thomas and Felicia, keeping them safe in their homes, so they can keep working through these difficult times. Donate using the enclosed envelope or click the “Donate” button on our webpage:
www.alliancehousinginc.org.

Mosaic Memorial Postponed

Posted on: November 13th, 2020

At the time of publishing our Spring 2020 Newsletter, Alliance Housing was excited to initiate a community project, a mosaic memorial at Minnehaha Commons, in honor of the six people who died in the fire on the site on April 2, 2010. Unfortunately, COVID-19 interfered with our plans. Alliance plans to reschedule in the spring, when we can work outside and create something to honor the victims of the fire, and all those who have suffered by being fragilely housed. Mosaic artist Lori Greene will work with residents in designing and craft- ing the memorial. The project is funded by Alliance Housing, Inc. and Touchstone Mental Health, the onsite provider at Minnehaha Commons.

A Solar Array Offsets Costs

Posted on: November 13th, 2020
On July 23, 2020, a newly installed solar array began producing power at Minnehaha Commons providing free
electricity for the residents there. The array, installed by Minnesota solar company, Novel Energy Solutions, is expected to produce 50,000 kWh of clean energy per year. That same amount of energy would cost over $5,000 if purchased from the electric utility.
The 39.93 kW project, located at 3001 E. Lake Street in Minneapolis, supports the 44-unit apartment complex that houses individuals aged 55 or older. These individuals are low income and have a history of homelessness. Not only do the residents receive their electricity for free, but the array also produces the equivalence of carbon sequestered by 46 acres of forest each year.
Novel Energy Solutions was founded in 2012 by a fifth-generation, Minnesota family farmer and has grown from a family-run business to be one of Minnesota’s leading providers of solar energy. Novel Energy Solutions takes great pride in this array, as it serves the first housing program aimed at supporting this this population.
Learn more about Novel Energy at www.novelenergy.biz.

Home Provides a Sanctuary During These Unsettled Times

Posted on: November 13th, 2020

Everyone has been affected by the events of this year – the pandemic, civil unrest following the death of George Floyd, economic upheaval, the list goes on. Alliance Housing serves very low-income people who have been hit even harder than many of us. Our older and disabled residents are dealing with social isolation and not being able to gather in public spaces like the library, or even go shopping. Our single and family residents who were making ends meet before the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 are now struggling due to loss of work, or reduction of hours. Or they continue to work, but in jobs that place them in harm’s way, dealing directly with the public or at-risk clients such as in nursing homes, daycares, and takeout windows, while the rest of us are safely working from home or in a controlled office environment. Some hold multiple and temporary jobs, trying to keep afloat. Others sell their plasma or borrow money from family and friends. Some have even pursued getting new jobs during this time, looking for a brighter future.

In 2017, before living in her Alliance duplex, Desiree and her three boys, then aged 8 and 4-year-old twins, lived in a house on the North Side. Her bills were high, and her pay was low. Inevitably, they lost their home, and Desiree and the boys ended up living in her truck for over a month. During that time, one of the twins was hospitalized in the NICU unit for two weeks. Desiree would park her truck, her home, near the hospital to spend time with her son, and hope that the truck would be there when she returned.


On October 1, 2017, a date that is etched in Desiree’s memory, she got a call from Alliance’s property manager Bob Bono. Alliance had a home for her. She couldn’t stop crying. The family moved into their home on 22nd and Upton Avenue North on October 4, 2017. And on October 7th, her son came home from the NICU, not to the truck, but to a real home. The unit is a nice size for her family. They can look out the picture window and get a view of their neighborhood. Desiree has been working at the front desk of a motel for three years. Although she feels lucky to have a job, Desiree is worried about being out in public and being exposed to the virus, and then putting her children at risk. She rides the bus to and from work, about a 35 minute ride each way, and a further risk of exposure to the virus. And even though travel is down due to the virus, her motel is full; full of medical workers isolating from their own families to keep them safe, and full of homeless people, reminding her of her past life before she and her children moved into their Alliance home.

In the spring, Desiree sometimes had to take her children with her to work because there was no where else for them to be since
school was online. Finally she asked her family for help. Her older sister worked with her older 10-year-old, and the father of the
six-year-old twins took on their schooling. This arrangement has continued this school year. Despite the stress of providing for and raising her children during a pandemic, Desiree benefits from knowing that she has a safe and secure home. She admits that she has depression and anger issues, but that she hasn’t “gone off on anyone” since she moved into her Alliance home. She says the organization is a good one for a single mom, and “if you ever get the chance, go to Alliance (Housing).”

 

Our rent matching forgiveness fund offers a hand up. . .

Posted on: November 6th, 2020
Give to the Max Day is Thursday, November 19th. If you’ve already made a donation to Alliance, we are so thankful! We’re using this year’s opportunity to expand our rent match forgiveness fund.
Since March, we’ve matched rent payments, $1 for $1, for 25 tenants who have lost hours or employment due to COVID-19. The average match is $250. We’ve assisted some tenants over multiple months until they found new employment or had hours restored. Some have only needed assistance for 1 month.
Our tenants are low wage earners. Getting even a little behind on rent is a significant financial setback. The rent forgiveness fund enables them to stay current on rent and meet other obligations.
We’ll share a new story about a household that used the rent match forgiveness fund for the next several weeks. The FS Foundation will match anything we raise $1 for $1 in this campaign for an expanded fund.
The FS Foundation is on a mission to foster independence, self-reliance, pride of craftsmanship, and sense of purpose for under-resourced adults. This matching grant will double your donation to the Alliance Housing Rent Forgiveness Fund.
Help us expand our reach and share this information with family, friends and colleagues. To learn more about Alliance Housing, visit our website and our Facebook page.  Simply click the “Donate” button on our website.

Alliance’s work makes it possible for individuals and families to create homes for themselves, regardless of income and background..


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