Church and Community Empowerment Models
Portico (Minneapolis, MN)—is an interfaith housing collaborative, which helps congregations involved with Family’s Moving Forward (Family Promise) to identify an affordable housing task force within their church to work in partnership with Portico, a nonprofit housing developer, to develop affordable housing in their community. They have developed 433 units of affordable housing in partnership with the 40 congregations involved with Families Moving Forward. These congregations are well aware of the need for affordable housing for the homeless, as they one of the oldest Family Promise programs in the country. With this congregations rotate hosting homeless families for one week several times throughout the year. Daily families go to a resource center, where they work with case workers to obtain jobs and housing. As a result, when congregations see from experience the acute need for more affordable housing, they become engaged with helping to create housing in partnership with Portico. One of Portico’s developments, Nicolet Square, was built in partnership with the Westminster Presbyterian Church, which gave $350,000 seed money to help buy the land. This particular project was built in response to the need for more housing for homeless youth. They are thrilled that most of the homeless youth housed at Nicolet Square are now employed.
Urban Homeworks, N. Minneapolis—the mission of Urban Homeworks is to perpetuate the hope of Jesus Christ through innovative community development that produces dignified housing for low-income families, a strategic network of good neighbors and the redemptive development of real estate. Since 1995, they have been reweaving the fabric of North Minneapolis through a multi-faceted approach that combines creating dignified housing, volunteer mobilization, construction training for community members, and the development of a group of engaged neighbors. This powerful model of neighborhood transformation and stabilization has resulted in more than 200 redeveloped properties and a network of 17,000 volunteers, 1,200 construction trainees, and 375 Urban Neighbors who have lived in and served the community and in the process have been transformed. To gain the a more full appreciation of how this model works read the full chapter in Making Housing Happen, check out their website or better yet, go visit their amazing work.