As we wind down the year and reflect on an incredible 2018, we are so grateful for everything we have achieved together. It’s hard to believe how many positive changes have been made this year. From adding 3 new staff to our team, to powerful advocacy with Make Homes Happen, 2018 was a year of raising our collective voices to build stronger communities.
Last year, through a viral video highlighting a Somali family’s journey from public housing to buying a home with PRG, we connected with hundreds of households from the Somali community. As a result, Nimo joined our staff to help strengthen our engagement with our East African community members.
In May, we said goodbye to our long-time homeownership services manager Mindy who relocated to Michigan and said hello to Portia Jackson as she moved into that role. We are so excited for the expertise and lived experience Portia has brought to the work—a northside resident who has gone through the PRG advising and homebuying process–as well as worked in housing services across the metro to support other homeowners of color close the gap and build generational wealth.
Advancing our work in support of helping all people and neighborhoods to thrive, we added Luis to the team in October. His experience in finance and passion for working with the Latino community is an incredible addition to PRG, and we are now a tri-lingual organization.
Our ongoing partnership with the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority continues to create opportunities for families to move along the housing continuum. The Moving On program supports higher-income public housing tenants working with our homeownership services staff to transition from public housing to homeownership.
We are so happy for Karmalita, a mother of 3, who bought her first home through Moving On in 2018. She recently shared her gratitude in working with Erin, her homeownership services advisor.
“Besides all the help with building my income and credit, I could feel Erin was rooting for me. She wanted this for me, and it was like she was right there to make up for whatever confidence I was lacking about owning a home. PRG’s entire team has made this whole process so easy and simple for me. Owning a home now for me and my kids gives us a few more responsibilities, but it also gives us that space and privacy that we always wanted thanks to PRG.”
PRG staff continued working with Make Homes Happen, an affordable housing advocacy group comprised of people working in wide array of housing-related non-profits across Minneapolis. These efforts led to Mayor Frey and the city council passing a $40 million allotment for affordable housing production, preservation, and protection in their $1.5 billion 2019 budget. The group worked closely with community members and the city to develop and finalize this historic work.
With all of PRG’s progress, growth, and change, our executive director described 2018 in one word, “evolution.”
“I’m super excited about our work with twenty-three Minneapolis Public Housing families to help them achieve their goal of homeownership. There is such a clear triple bottom line to this work: narrowing the racial homeownership gap; creating opportunities for intergenerational wealth creation, and; freeing-up scarce public housing units,” Kathy shared in reflecting on PRG’s accomplishments this year.
“Three new staff members over the course of year is a lot of change for a small organization and successful onboarding is time intensive and so necessary because how we do what we do is just as important as what we do. It has also been really rewarding to see our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion produce meaningful impact. With a board and staff that are now 50% people of color, we have connections to new communities; a rich diversity of lived experiences; and services in English, Spanish and Somali. How cool is that?”
Kathy is approaching her 10th year as executive director at PRG, and much of the evolution we have seen is a result of her leadership. With a strong team in place we are looking ahead to the future with optimism and hope.
“I envision PRG continuing to make real change in people’s lives by leveraging the lived experience of our staff, board, and clients to use our capacity and resources in the most effective way possible,” Kathy shared.
Onward to 2019. From all of us at PRG, thank you. Happy New Year!
Give to the Max Day proves to be a great opportunity for PRG to share homeowner stories, engage with our supporters, and raise funds to carry out the work. In 2018, we broke our Give to the Max Day record. We are so humbled and grateful for all of our individual donors, foundation partners, board members, volunteers, and community supporters. We could not do this important work without you.