What ‘Home’ Means

Teaming with Habitat to help Twin Cities families create deep roots

One work day.

It’s something very small to give on the individual level. But then one company donates 10 employees’ labor for a day. Then 10 companies donate. Sometimes every year, several times a year. Then future Habitat homeowners contribute their “sweat equity” – 100 hours of homebuilding. Just one work day multiplied means working families in need all over the world can reach their aspiration of homeownership. And that ownership creates deep roots.

 

Earlier this month, United Properties joined forces with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity (TCHFH) for two days of homebuilding and teambuilding. More than 30 employees from United Properties and senior living partner Ebenezer traded a day at the office for a day on-site, where 981 Euclid was in its third week of construction. Once finished, the 1800-square-foot St. Paul home will include 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and an 800-square-foot unfinished basement (2600 square feet total) with an egress window. All volunteers will be invited to the housewarming.

“It was a very rewarding day personally, learning carpentry skills and doing tangible work with our hands for a cause we feel good about,” shared Kevin Powell, United Properties IT Director & AVP. “Working together and getting to know your colleagues in a different environment is also very rewarding – you learn things you wouldn’t have expected about them. Plus the Habitat team was brave enough to trust us with power tools…”

To date, TCHFH has constructed more than 12,000 homes for Minnesotan families in need. But what do these homes really mean for local families?

Why Home Matters

According to Habitat, having a stable place to come home to each day is associated with better public health and education outcomes. But what does that look like in the day-to-day? WHY does this work matter? TCHFH engages with past volunteers on a regular basis to help them understand the WHY behind the homebuilding – which isn’t really about the buildings at all:

For those of us who’ve never needed to question where home was, a window into a Habitat family’s day-to-day can be awakening. It helps us start to understand what home means to those who don’t take it for granted, and it helps us see why even one work day matters.

One work day at a time – one home build at a time – adds up to a lot of impact. It means a child can stay at one school long enough to make meaningful friendships and host sleepovers at home. It means making memories that become stories about “the neighborhood” and “the house where I grew up.” Habitat’s work is about more than providing shelter – it’s about how the shelter helps families create deep roots. It’s about the thing that makes a space a place and a house a home. That’s why United Properties is proud to partner with Habitat each year to help lift up families putting down their own roots in the greater Twin Cities.

Further Multiplied

Habitat for Humanity developed several programs that multiply each chapter’s local impact, all of which work toward the central mission of building strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter:

  1. A Brush with Kindness – TCHFH’s A Brush with Kindness Paint and Home Repair Program partners with low-income families, veterans, and seniors to affordably maintain safe, stable homes. Over the last 30 years, the program has touched more than 2,000 families in the greater Twin Cities area.
  2. ReStore Home Improvement Outlets – Think Goodwill meets Home Depot. ReStore vets new and gently used home improvement products and building materials and is open to the public. Sales at the Minneapolis and New Brighton locations support Habitat homebuilding initiatives in the Twin Cities area.
  3. Age in Place – In partnership with Allina Health, TCHFH launched Age in Place to support older low-income homeowners who wish to age peacefully in the comfort of their own homes. The program provides assistance with seasonal chores, yard work, home modifications (e.g., building wheelchair ramps, installing handrails), and other services that allow homeowners to continue living safely and affordably.

Visit tchabitat.org to learn about other programs and help Habitat multiply its impact for Twin Cities families!