Some of the original PRG founders
As PRG closed out its 40th anniversary year, we hosted an open house on Thursday, Feb. 23. More than 75 people attended and many original founders and early board and staff members joined us. Founding PRG board member Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin spoke about the importance of PRG’s legacy of supporting families through housing.
Other speakers at the event included Barbara Satin, Assistant Faith Work Director for The National LGBTQ Task Force; Dante Coleman, PRG homeowner and board member; and PRG’s own homeownership advisor Thandiswzwe Jackson-Nisan who performed poetry.
James Avenue home
While eating, drinking, and listening to the inspirational words of our speakers, attendees fell in love with the recently-completed home that was the site of the open house. The house on James Avenue North was built by PRG as part the Green Homes North Program and is one of eight built by PRG in the area over the past three years.
The 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom house is 1750 finished square feet. The house was designed by Jordan neighborhood resident Chic Hanssen (who was in attendance) and was built to Minnesota Green Communities
and Energy Star requirements.
Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate our anniversary and for all the generous donations and support we’ve received throughout this past year. Here’s to another 40 years!
PRG has been renovating and building single-family homes since 1988. The changes are pretty dramatic!
Explore the past 40 years of PRG by clicking the arrows to move through the timeline or use your mouse to zoom in and out.
In the early days, PRG’s primary activity was developing multi-family affordable housing. Starting with Whittier Cooperative, PRG did redevelopment work in Whittier, Powderhorn, and Phillips in south Minneapolis on projects including Arbor Commons, Oakland Square, and Prairie Oaks Townhomes.
PRG has a long legacy of responding to community need and so, in 1988, PRG expanded development to owner-occupied houses that would be affordable for families. These first single-family developments were primarily located in Phillips and Powderhorn.
Ten years after beginning single-family developments, PRG looked beyond south Minneapolis to the north. According to the US Census, between 1990 and 2000 Minneapolis’ Jordan neighborhood lost 10% of its housing and the owner-occupied rate dropped 5% even while the amount of families with children in the area increased dramatically. Affordable, single-family housing was—and still is—needed to address these issues.
PRG’s first single-family homes in north Minneapolis were in Jordan, where we still have a strong presence today.
At a time when an estimated 11.7 million people worldwide had died of AIDS, PRG partnered with the Minnesota American Indian AIDS Task Force (now called the Indigenous Peoples Task Force) on a 14-unit housing development for Native Americans living with HIV/AIDS. In 1997, with no cure or life-prolonging therapy yet developed, the life expectancy of those living with HIV/AIDS was around twenty years shorter than those without.
Mayindoowahdak Odena means “a place where ceremonies happen” in Ojibwe.
The project addressed the housing needs of HIV-positive Minnesotans, 44% of which had experienced homelessness. Previous housing projects for individuals with HIV/AIDS had not addressed the needs of the whole family and generally required patients to move away from their families. Mayindoowahdak Odena, located in Minneapolis’ Phillips neighborhood, allowed patients to live with their families, increasing stability. The affordable, permanent housing in a supportive, culturally-specific environment targeted low-income Native American individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS.
The design included a central ceremonial area echoing a traditional Native American village with community spaces. The MAIATF was also able to provide case management and support for residents. Maynidoowahdak Odena received the Design of the Year Award for Affordable Housing from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.
After over ten years of developing multi-family housing in primarily Powderhorn Park neighborhood, PRG expanded in 1988 to single-family development. This expansion was a logical next step for an organization whose goal was to make decent, affordable housing available to low and moderate income residents and giving these residents great control over their housing and neighborhoods.
PRG began with two single-family homes in Phillips and within ten years had expanded single-family developments to north Minneapolis’ Jordan neighborhood. We have built or rehabbed almost 200 homes since 1988.
Affordable, single-family housing development continues to be a cornerstone of our work today. Today, Governor Dayton announced $80 million in investments in affordable housing across the state, and PRG is one of 11 awardees for single-family development in Minneapolis.
In 1990, the corner of 32nd and Bloomington in South Minneapolis was well-known to law enforcement. Some described the block of fourplexes as a “mini-slum,” and the area had been the site of violence, illegal activity, and drive-by shootings.
So when PRG partnered with concerned neighbors to rehab the lot, area residents were enthralled by the demolition of the property.
What was built in its place were 12 two-bedroom units, each available to low-income families. The Linden Place project helped to revitalize the surrounding neighborhood by decreasing the density (from 100 to approximately 36), increasing green space and trees, and the addition of yards for children to play in.
In 1991, Linden Place was a finalist for a CUE (Committee on Urban Environment) Award in the Making Our Neighborhoods Better Places category.
In 1976, a group of concerned residents of the Powderhorn Park neighborhood formed a nonprofit in response to the economic hardship of the area. Here, reproduced in all its Xeroxed glory, is the original Articles of Incorporation for PRG.
The organization was founded with the intent of making decent, affordable housing available to low and moderate income residents. The 1976 mission and goals of Powderhorn Residents Group (as it was then known) were:
- Safe, decent, affordable housing for low and moderate income people
- Provide homeownership/resident control opportunities
- Provide family housing opportunities
Now, 40 years later, our vision and mission are similar. We combine community-based affordable housing development with education and counseling to help all people and neighborhoods thrive.
As we look back at the past four decades of PRG, please help us continue doing this work for another 40 years by donating to PRG on Give to the Max Day on November 17, 2016.
Whittier School building
Shortly after its founding in 1976, PRG began to explore options for purchasing multi-family housing for rehab. PRG worked with the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) to secure funding, and eventually purchased Whittier School, a Minneapolis Public Schools building that was slated to be demolished.
The Whittier Cooperative Apartments (Section 8 housing) was completed by 1980, a successful first housing development for PRG.