Archive for March, 2022


Posted on: March 22nd, 2022

Building on Alliance’s success at
Minnehaha Commons – housing
older adults who had been
homeless – we knew we had to do
more to reduce the homeless adult
population. We began talking with
Touchstone Mental Health two
years ago to conceptualize a similar
project for younger adults. At the
same time, we were approached by
a building owner near HCMC who
had heard of our good works. They
wanted to repurpose their 4 story
1920s era downtown property from
office space to affordable housing.
We jumped in and began applying
for public capital dollars.

Within one full year of funding
cycles we were awarded all of the funds
necessary to renovate the building into
55 apartments. Many thanks
to the Federal Home Loan
Bank of Des Moines, Hennepin
County, the City of Minneapolis,
the Metropolitan Council and
Minnesota Housing.
In addition to the capital funding,
we have commitments from
Hennepin County and the
Minneapolis Public Housing
Authority for rent assistance for
all tenants.

Touchstone has the
contracts and expertise to bring
along money to pay for their
services to tenants. In the coming
year, we hope to add funding to
pay for a front desk through the
Housing Urban Development
Continuum of Care programs. Over
the next year, we’ll work through
the financial closing due diligence
process and begin renovation in
early 2023.


Posted on: March 22nd, 2022

The affordable housing crisis
has been atop many legislative
and policy efforts over the last
few years. The data is clear: the
the gap between rents and income
continues to widen and more
families find themselves with
unstable housing, or unhoused,
or stressed by paying too much of
their income towards rent.

Alliance Housing is small but
mighty in our coalition-based
housing advocacy. During the
current Minnesota legislative
session, we’re focused on two
efforts. In past years, our advocacy
work with Homes for All MN
has garnered $100 million in
housing infrastructure bond (HIB)
authorization by the MN Legislature.
These resources are essential to
fund the type of housing Alliance
owns and managers for very low
income and low-wage earners.
Given the State’s 2022 surplus and
the size of the housing problem,
this year the group is asking for
$2 billion in resources to create
and preserve homes and to create
more access to affordable housing
with rent and homeownership
assistance. Minnesotans of color
are disproportionately affected by
the housing crisis. The investment
will reduce disparities and expand

Right now, please take
the opportunity to talk with your own elected officials about how
people you know are affected by
the affordable housing crisis and
ask them to support $2 billion for
housing. If you’d like to get involved
in future policy alerts and efforts
look for Homes for All MN tweets or
posts to their Facebook page.

For the past couple of legislative
sessions, we’ve also partnered
with Beacon Interfaith Housing
Collaborative and 80 some other
housing developers and service
providers to advocate for rent
assistance for very low-income
households through Bring it Home
MN. Current programs like Section 8
only fund 1 of 4 families that qualify.
With rents increasing over the
last 10 years, families are simply not able
to afford rents with what they are able to earn.
Rent assistance would help keep
more families stable so they could
retain employment and do lots of
other good things in their lives.
Again, look for alerts on Twitter and
other social media.


Posted on: March 22nd, 2022

Jessie Hendel’s first day as the
Executive Director for Alliance
Housing Inc. was March 8. Our
board of directors began this search
process last summer after Barb
Jeanetta announced her retirement
plans. With plenty of time to plan,
the board cast a wide net. For
nearly a year, board members have
been talking to a varied group of
people about what we were looking
for and who might be interested.
The early work paid off and Alliance
received nearly 20 high-quality
candidate resumes. Between
October 2021 and January 2022, the
the board did a series of interviews to
arrive at their offer to Jessie.

As a trained social worker, Jessie
Hendel has spent the majority of
her professional career working
to provide safe, affordable, and
sustainable housing for youth,
families, and individuals. Her
commitment to these values directly
aligns with Alliance’s relationship-based property management focus.
Her passion, warmth, and expertise
will serve our residents, staff and
stakeholders well as we look to
the future. Jessie looks forward
to connecting with all of Alliance’s
donors, investors, and allies in the
coming months to learn more about
their connections to the work of
Alliance Housing.

Jessie worked at CommonBond
Communities, a highly respected
affordable housing developer,
owner and manager in various
management, program and
operational roles for 17 years.
Most recently, she directed a
variety of programs at the YWCA
of Minneapolis. As was true of all
of the past Directors of Alliance
Housing, this will be Jessie’s first
time in the role of Executive
Director. It was obvious from
interviews that she is familiar with
and attached to Alliance’s mission,
and is inspired to do a great job
leading the organization into the


Posted on: March 22nd, 2022

Every now and then, we take a look at why people move out of our
apartments. Recently, in analyzing vacancies in our scattered-site
apartments, we discovered that more than ½ of our tenants moved because
they found “equal or better” housing elsewhere. At Alliance, we count it as
a success if our tenants find better housing. Not only do they move up and
move on, but it means another household will be able to move into one of
our very affordable quality units. To give you a sense of what better housing
means, we reflected on some past moves that we’ve reported on before,
and some more recent ones.

In the 2021 Annual Report, we covered the story of Cindy Arnold, who
moved through our rooming house (several times), then on to a studio
apartment, and bought a house a year ago. Cindy is a testament to our belief
that a person can change and should not be judged by their worst day.
Two more success stories come from families that were original participants
in our North Side Supportive Housing for Families program between 2012-

Gloria lived in an Alliance duplex for nearly four years before pulling
together the resources to buy her own home. She shared her story with
our 2017 fundraising breakfast guests. At the breakfast, Gloria thanked

Sue Roedl, program manager, for encouragement and coaching. Gloria added
“access to affordable housing gave me the time to get back on my feet and
prepare to move on with my family’s lives.”

Irena lived in an apartment at 3631 Penn for 8 years. She moved this past
November to a bigger apartment in a better neighborhood with her family.
Alliance allowed her to build a good rental history and manage her budget
over the years so that she could save for this move up.

One of our Pillsbury rooming house residents, Dustin,
was able to move out and move on in 2019 when he
got a Section 8 voucher for an apartment with his
own bathroom and kitchen. Before finding housing
with Alliance, Dustin was homeless for at least three
years. When Dustin first moved into the rooming
house, he had problems with drinking, partying with
drunk friends, and disturbing his neighbors. Property
manager Bob Bono repeatedly redirected bad behavior
back towards lease abiding expectations. Without the
stability of his Alliance home and repeated chances
around expectations, it is doubtful that Dustin would
have been able to achieve this new stage of housing
stability for himself.

There are many more stories like this over the years.
And just in the last few months, two tenants moved
on to better housing opportunities – one created by
Alliance and another who created his own.
Pat has rented from Alliance Housing Inc. since April
2012. His first home was a sleeping room. When the
opportunity arose, Pat moved to 2103 2nd Avenue S,
giving him the additional amenities of his own kitchen
and bathroom. He works twelve-hour days with a
company that picks up junk for a fee, sells and recycles
it. Pat noted and advised that “ I stick to myself. You
can’t make other people’s problems your problems.”
Pat recently provided notice that he was moving. He
bought a tri-plex in South St. Paul. Pat said that
owning his own place, “gives him more control over
his living environment.” He said he had the idea to buy
something for a while. A friend who is a lawyer and
broker gave him some guidance and encouraged him
that he had sufficient money and credit. He eventually
plans to buy a house to live in and use the tri-plex as
income. We have no doubt that he will.

Curtis moved from 143 E. 19th Street in November
2021 to 2103 2nd Ave – a sleeping room to a studio.
Whenever there is an opening in one of Alliance’s
studios – either in our larger properties or in the
scattered-site portfolio – we offer them to tenants in
sleeping rooms who have sufficient income to pay rent
and have demonstrated that they can be lease abiding.
Prior to moving into our 143 E. 19th Street property in
December 2020, he spent some time in jail, sleeping
in his car, at a shelter, and in hotel rooms. Curtis says
that while he appreciated the sleeping room to being
homeless, “I don’t like it that everyone doesn’t have
the same cleaning standards as me.” The first night he
moved in at 2nd Ave., he did something he hadn’t been
able to do before – cook a meal and take a bubble bath.
He loves his new place.

All of Alliance’s units offer permanent housing, not
time-limited temporary housing. Nonetheless, we’re
always gratified when someone moves on to equal or
better housing. They create an opportunity for someone
new, who may need a 2nd chance, to create a home for