“I had to make repairs on my home and spent $6,000. I went to PRG for help. Mindy and Thandi were so great, and helped me read all the documents as I was going blind. Paul was very clear and very helpful. They delayed the foreclosure, helped negotiate with the bank, and helped me stay in my home,” Wizard sharing her gratitude for PRG.
After living in her home for over 20 years, Wizard knew she wasn’t going to leave her community without a fight. After unexpected bills piled up she came to PRG for help, and with the support of our homeownership advisors she was able to remain her home.
In August 2018 Wizard passed away. She lived an incredible life, and we are grateful that we were able to help her spend her final years at home.
“People see me and say I look 10 years younger. I tell them to buy a PRG house.”
Sudi wanted a home of her own. A single mother with four kids, she needed a stable place to live where there was room for her children and a yard (with a fence) for her young son with autism to play in. Individual pre-purchase housing counseling at PRG was part of Sudi’s journey toward homeownership. These free sessions helped Sudi address a mistake on her credit and prepare for buying a home. After over a year of dedication, Sudi was able to purchase a PRG-developed home.
But Sudi worked hard to get there. Her first step was getting education and knowledge about the homebuying process.
A recent survey of past participants in PRG homebuying education and counseling, showed that 70% of respondents went on to buy homes.
Homebuyer education such as the HomeStretch Workshops offered by PRG helps level the playing field for households looking to become owners. This is particularly helpful for first-time and first-generation homebuyers or those that have been marginalized by systemic racism. Based on our survey, an estimated 300 households of color went on to purchase homes over the last three years after attending PRG homebuyer education.
When developing Spirit on Lake, the need PRG was helping to meet was that of the aging GLBT community. The multifamily affordable housing property on the corner of Lake Street and 13th Avenue in Minneapolis is the first of its kind in the Midwest and only the second in the nation to serve GLBT seniors.
This brick and stucco building is a rental property with income limits that provides safe, comfortable, affordable housing. With 46 units, Spirit on Lake includes public gathering spaces both inside and out, underground parking, a fitness room, and the building also houses Quatrefoil, one of the nation’s only GLBT libraries. Because of its ideal location near Midtown Global Market and other neighborhood amenities, the development is also home to a growing population of Somali families.
The GLBT community in the Twin Cities is the fourth largest per capita in the country and, compared to senior citizens as a whole, GLBT seniors are less wealthy. So affordable housing in Minneapolis for this population is vital.
PRG saw a need and helped to meet it.
But PRG didn’t do this alone. The City of Minneapolis, City Real Estate Advisors, Family Housing Fund, Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation, Hennepin County, Living Table UCC, Metropolitan Council, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, Minnesota Housing, US Bank, and Twin Cities LISC all contributed to the project and helped make it possible.
Listen to more about Spirit on Lake on the podcast Placemakers from Slate Magazine: The Matriarch of Spirit on Lake
Last summer, Melinda, a single mom, started to panic. She was behind on her mortgage payments, and every envelope in the mail from the bank seemed more frightening and more confusing. Her home was her stable, peaceful base to raise her two young sons, and she knew she was on the verge of losing it.
When she called PRG to speak with an advisor, she wasn’t sure that anything at all could be done to save her home.
Melinda met with Dawn, an advisor at PRG. Together, they looked at the stack of frightening envelopes and statements, along with information about her monthly income and expenses.
Dawn discovered a major reason for Melinda’s difficulty making her monthly payments: this homeowner, who had a ninth grade education, had been “sold” a homeowner’s insurance policy with an annual premium of $4,900—about four times what it ought to be. This premium had increased her escrow and subsequently her mortgage payment by over $300 per month.
Dawn advocated for Melinda with the insurance company, obtaining a refund on the exorbitant policy. Melinda’s new insurance premium is now $1,200 per year.
With PRG’s help, she also submitted a hardship package to her lender, and is currently under review for a modification to reduce her loan payment further. She’s current on her payments, and with a monthly budget to keep tabs on her spending, she’s confident she’ll be able to stay in her home.