Thursday, December 4, 2008

We've Moved To A Bigger Home!

Thanks for visiting! This blog is actually something of a historical artifact, but we keep it around because we love our neighborhood history. Hawthorne has two other sites that we do our best to keep current:

Official Hawthorne Neighborhood website, click here.

Hawthorne Voices blog, click here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Key Housing Resources in Minnesota

A Brush With Kindness (612) 788-8169
Painting -- General Cleanup -- Minor Repairs
You can receive help with home restoration projects. A Brush with Kindness is a neighborhood program of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. This program offers home preservation services such as house painting, minor repairs and general cleanup for low-income homeowners. Most projects are for exterior (outside) restoration. Most projects are completed within one week. Teams of volunteers are matched with homes that are appropriate for the size and experience of the volunteer group. Supplies are donated by area businesses. All paint and most other supplies are furnished by A Brush with Kindness.

Center for Energy and Environment (612) 335-5858
Nonprofit organization promoting responsible use of energy and natural resources in Minnesota.

Family Housing Fund (612) 375-9644
The Family Housing Fund is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and produce affordable housing for families with low and moderate incomes in the seven-county metro area of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation (612) 339-0601
The Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation was formed in 1970 by the Minneapolis business community. GMHC's mission is to preserve, improve and increase affordable housing for low and moderate income individuals and families, as well as assist communities with housing revitalization.

Handyworks (612) 721-8687 x 318

Hearts and Hammers (952) 922-2452
Hearts & Hammers - Twin Cities, Inc. is a private non-profit organization that provides exterior painting and home improvement assistance for seniors and the physically disabled. Assistance is provided at no cost and is completed during Program Day events in May and September. Hearts & Hammers enables deserving Twin Cities’ homeowners to continue living independently, in homes that are weatherproof, safe and secure.

Metro Paint-A-Thon, (612) 721-8687 x 321

Minneapolis Consortium of Community Developers (612) 789-7337
MCCD is an association of community development organizations committed to expanding the wealth and resources of neighborhoods through housing and economic development initiatives.
For over twenty years, MCCD members have worked together to increase opportunities for development of quality, community-based projects through collaborative action on public policy issues, loan fund development, public education efforts, and long-term strategic planning. Through these efforts, we have been able to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiencies gained by a shared vision of cooperation on the economic development work of Minneapolis neighborhoods.

Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (651) 296-7608
We finance and advance affordable housing opportunities for low and moderate income Minnesotans to enhance quality of life and foster strong communities.

Follow the navigation above and find information on everything from products and services to help Minnesotans buy and fix up homes to how we support the development and preservation of affordable rental housing by offering financing and on-going asset management of affordable rental housing developments. Over the next two years Minnesota Housing will invest more than $1.6 billion to further our four strategic priorities:

-Finance new affordable housing opportunities
-Preserve existing affordable housing
-End long-term homelessness
-Increase emerging market homeownership

Neighborhood Involvement Programs (612) 374-3125
N.I.P. seeks to provide cost-effective, professional services. We help people reach their potential by working through problems that may hold them back. People facing such issues as limited resources, illiteracy, costly health care, emotional concerns, physical frailty and personal safety issues, come to us for UNDERSTANDING and PROFESSIONAL SERVICES they can afford.

Rebuilding Together (651) 776-4273
Rebuilding Together is a national nonprofit with a network of nearly 225 affiliates across the United States. Our mission is to preserve affordable housing by bringing volunteers and communities together to rehabilitate the homes of low-income homeowners.

Urban Homeworks (612) 724-9002
Urban Homeworks mission 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 redemptive development of real estate.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

March Housing Committee Minutes

Farview Park
Wednesday March 5, 2008

Committee Members: Marlys Hubbard; Dan Kelty (secretary); Alissa Pier (excused)); Bev Scherrer (chair); Leroy Smithrud, Kathleen Welch, Kevin Kuschel, Anderson Mitchel IV,

Others in Attendance: Haroll Harris, Bernie Nerison, Kevin Gulden,, Mostafa Abdel-Karem, Mahmoud Abdel-Karem, Abdi Gojobe, Jeff Skares, Len Lewis, Ray McConnell, Diane Hofstede

I. Welcome and introductions

II. Approval of February minutes
Bev/Kevin moved to accept as presented. Carried.

Approval of March agenda

Dan/Kathy moved to have councilperson Hofstede speak as IIA. Carried.

Diane spoke about two important items coming up to the council.
1. Hearing on Broadway Alive before board on Thursday. She invited all to attend and speak on the plan.
2. She introduced the Advantage Plan which is being introduced to encourage home ownership.

III. Staff update on Citimortgage lawsuit
Jeff indicated a possible reply to the lawsuit this week. We asked for the right to buy the property in phase 2 of the Green Village. We then asked for them to give Hawthorne the property, $50,000 and pay the legal fees. He will let us know as soon as he hears. New appraisals in light of the current housing market will be done by PPL staff.

IV. Presentation and discussion re: 2326 Lyndale Ave N
The request for the zoning change for the site was presented for neighborhood input. A citizen on the same block requested that the zoning not be changed as the crime in the area has lessened due to the closing of the store. The present owners were questioned concerning the due diligence in purchasing the property knowing its history and on the proposed items for sale in the new store, i.e. limited tobacco products.
Anthony/Dan moved to request the full Hawthorne Board not to support a zoning change for the site. Straw vote yea=10, Nye=0, abstentions=1. Committee vote yea=6, Nye=0, abstention=1
The motion carried.

V. Presentation and discussion re: Phase III of EcoVillage
Kevin presented and introduced, Iman Abdi Gojobe, from the mosque across the street. He is encouraging members to buy in the neighborhood.
Kevin asked for input for the block cornering Lowry and Lyndale. Some ideas were presented:
1. develop efficiency/studio apartments desirable to attract single working adults
2. have about 75-80 total units
3. involve McKinley neighborhood in discussion
4. evaluate the need for commercial units

VI. Agenda items for next meeting
A discussion on rental vs. homeownership in the neighborhood.

VII. Adjourn

Next Meeting:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 7:00 p.m. at Farview

Monday, March 10, 2008

Housing Resources For Hawthorne Residents

In Minnesota there are several organizations working hard to address the housing crisis. As a disclaimer, the following list does not represent an endorsement from Hawthorne but are provided as a start for people interested in the issues. Here are a few:

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) a national nonprofit working for social justice and stronger communities. The Minnesota chapter is one of the strongest in the nation, and ACORN Housing offers one-on-one mortgage loan counseling and first-time home-buyer classes. Call them at (651) 642-9639.

The Foreclosure Relief Law Project (FRLP) ( is part of the Housing Preservation Project. They work to prevent foreclosures and the negative effects this has on communities and to hold people accountable who are responsible for the crisis.

The Equity Stripping Task Force ( is a group of legal service providers, attorneys and community partners helping victims of predatory lending.

For more resources you can also contact the Hawthorne Housing Development Director, Jeff Skrenes at or (612) 529-6033.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hawthorne Housing Committee Agenda, March 8th

I. Welcome, Introductions
II. Approval of Feb. minutes, Mar. agenda
III. Staff update: Citimortgage lawsuit
IV. Presentation, discussion: 2326 Lyndale Ave N
V. Presentation, discussion: EcoVillage Phase III
VI. Agenda items for next meeting
VII. Adjourn

Next Meeting:
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
7:00 p.m. at Farview

February 2008 Housing Committee Minutes

HACC Housing Committee
Wednesday February 6, 2008 7 – 9 p.m.
Farview Park

Committee Members: Marlys Hubbard; Dan Kelty (secretary); Alissa Pier (excused); Bev Scherrer (chair); Leroy Smithrud, Kathleen Welch, Kevin Kuschel Anderson Mitchel IV.

Others in Attendance: Kevin Gulden, Shalamda Holmes, Mostafa Abdel-Karem, Mahmoud Abdel-Karem, Sue Pilarski, Susan V(???), Jeff Skrenes.

I. Welcome and Introductions

II. Approval of Agenda moved Dan, Kathy/seconded. Carried
Approval of December ’07 minutes, moved Bev, Kathy/seconded. Carried.

III. EcoVillage updates – Kevin Gulden and Jeff Skrenes

Kevin presented a report on the project (Jeff please attach to board packet.)

Phase I is rolling back with 2008 the time to get everything in place and 2009 time of construction in the new plan.

Phase II. They hope to move forward in gaining more property and developing the project.

Q? The area looks very ugly, what is being done. Being worked on.

Q? What about protection against copper theft. Signs can be put up to warn that there is no copper.

Phase III. Suggestions about what and who to invite to meetings to discuss the block of Lowry and Lyndale. Suggested to get the most amount of people involved. We need to get McKinley community involved as well as the faith communities.

The green aspect of the project needs to be explored including geothermal heating possibilities.

Jeff will work on this phase

IV. Citimortgage lawsuit and further application of nuisance property statute – Jeff Skrenes

A document was presented with an update on the lawsuit and input was sought into how broad the follow up should be in holding people accountable for the foreclosure and boarded building mess.

It could broaden to multi building landlords and possibly even individuals who have boarded properties with no signs of maintaining the nuisance properties.

Jeff wants a dialogue about this matter.

V. Other updates from Housing Director (8:00 – 8:30)

a. December foreclosure conference in Chicago

Good new is that we are not alone with problem

Bad news is that it is spread across the country. Gas bills are in some places being reported to help with credit reports. We need to explore statistics on foreclosures by home owners vs. landlords and by older homes and new infill from last few years.

b. Status of foreclosure prevention counseling services

There is a need to coordinate the counseling services and work with groups on a larger scale to smooth the path to help for neighbors.

c. CPED acquisitions of properties on Lyndale

  • 2125 Purchased on 12/27
  • 2127 no response
  • 2131 not worth purchasing for rehab.

  • d. Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and March ’08 conference in DC. Information on conference passed out with request to find neighbors who would like to attend and then take stake holding part for Northside.

    VI. New/Other Business – HACC participation in Northside Housing Fair on 3/15/08

    Jeff questioned priorities of Hawthorne in regards to the fair. He is on the seminar committee and asked for input from the community regarding our continued participation.

    We have been active for the full three years and over 1000 people visit the fair. The public relations aspect of the booth and seminars is well worth our participation according to Dan who has been on the committee planning the event.

    At least 12 Hawthorne residents have volunteered each year and a booth is an excellent outreach tool.

    VII. Short presentation by Mohamoud Abdel Kareem new owner of the store at Lyndale and 24th north. They propose a meat market/deli at the site. They will come to the March meeting with more information for the committee.

    VIII. New Member sign-up

    IX. Adjourn

    Next Meeting
    Wednesday, March 5th
    Farview Park, 7 – 9 p.m.

    Monday, March 3, 2008

    March 15th: North Housing and Home Improvement Fair!

    This is your one-stop shop for how-to seminars, talk with contractors about home improvement/remodeling, resources for prospective home buyers, financial resources and education, resources for home improvement and maintenance, refinancing, and preventing equity stripping.

    There will also be special financing offers for those living in the Hawthorne neighborhood and others!

    For more information, visit or contact Debbie at (612) 588-1155.

    This event has been brought to you by the Center for Energy and Environment, Minneapolis Public Schools Community Education, Otogawa-Anschel, Minneapolis City of Lakes, Orfield Construction, Northway Community Trust, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, NRP and Wells Fargo!

    Be sure to visit the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council as well!