A million dollar gift from an anonymous donor made Alliance’s dream come true to make more affordable rental housing available by increasing its scattered site housing portfolio. The donor was introduced by a volunteer/donor/colleague and immediately liked Alliance’s management style and ability to finance its properties in a way that allowed very low income households, many needing a 2nd chance, to create a home for themselves.
Over the last 1 ½ years, Alliance has purchased two properties with the anonymous donor equity and a small mortgage from Sunrise Banks. Sunrise Banks helped Alliance finance some of its very first properties in South Minneapolis and made a mortgage loan based on a long time relationship – both in banking and lending. In the future, Alliance plans take-out the equity and loan dollars with government soft debt and have capital to invest in additional properties.
We’ve previously reported on the purchase of 3416 Park Avenue from Park Avenue United Methodist Church in June 2020. It is a stately Victorian building that we’ve completed a significant facelift on with new siding, porch repairs and a full paint job. Alliance has also completed some not quite so visible inside repairs and will soon rehab kitchens up and down. Part of the anonymous donor’s capital aided the renovations.
The building was already home to 5 resettled African refugee men who each rent a room on the 2nd and 3rd floors and a family on the first floor. We kept rents of both at the same very affordable rate as offered by the church. The men work low wage jobs nights, pay their rent mostly on time and manage their shared living arrangement. Due to a voluntary move-out of the family, we were able to do some additional maintenance and repairs on the first floor and just moved in a new family. Samantha, our newest property manager exclaimed “it’s just beautiful” on her first visit. All units as they become vacant will offer an opportunity to one of the 750+ households on our interest list of completed applications.
Our newest acquisition, 2924 35th Avenue, is just a few blocks from Minnehaha Commons in the Longfellow neighborhood. It is a tidy 6 unit property built in the 1960s. The building was fully occupied – 5 two bedroom and 1 one bedroom apartments. As with Park, we’ll leave the rent structure as is. As units become vacant, it will offer an opportunity to some of the families on our interest list. In our existing portfolio, family units rarely open – our families know a good deal when they have one.
Two existing tenants offered some information to give you a sense of who has now become an Alliance tenant. Suzie has lived in the Longfellow neighborhood all but 10 of her 73 years. She has lived at 2924 35th Avenue for over 20 years and feels like it is part of her extended family. Suzie said, “So as you can guess I love this neighborhood.” She noted that there is another tenant in the building whose mother lived there for 30 years. When she had to move to a nursing home, her son took over the apartment. Suzie offered, “During the riots this last summer, we took care of ourselves.” The photo is of her much loved pet. Alliance usually doesn’t allow pets but grandfathered in the pet rule at 2924 35th Avenue.
Laura and Jimmy and their 5 year old son are the newest tenants at 2924 35th Avenue. They were referred to Alliance Housing by another tenant in the building who knew of their saga to regain stable housing. Laura and Jimmy were early victims of the early COVID shut down economy and lost jobs and their house. Offers of friends to re-locate to Missouri for work and housing ended up being more promise than reality. They spent all of the money they had on lodging (mostly camping), food, gas and survival until they got back to Minnesota. Through persistence they got a little help from the County and were ultimately able to start a business that had long been a dream. Their son loves the new apartment and his bedroom. Other tenants have been really warm and welcoming. The stability and work are slowly helping them put the 4 month saga behind them.