MINNEAPOLIS -- Development project includes second collaboration between Habitat and Courage Center that provides affordable, accessible housing for people with disabilities
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity will host a home dedication ceremony at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 17 in Newport, Minn., to commemorate the completion of its largest Habitat development project to date. This project also stands as the largest Habitat development built by any of the 34 Habitat affiliates currently building in the state of Minnesota.
The development project is a model community for accessibility and visitability. The project consists of 17 new homes and two rehabbed homes whose occupants reflect the multicultural community that the Twin Cities has become. Each newly constructed home incorporates visitability amenities, such as zero-grade entries and interior doors wide enough for wheelchair access, thereby creating a neighborhood that is visitable and allows people with disabilities the opportunity to fully participate in their community.
The nearly four- acre development project is located at the intersection of 10th Ave. and 15th St. in Newport. The project is the first Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity development in Newport and the largest Habitat project ever built in the state of Minnesota.
"We are so excited to be celebrating the completion of our largest development in the state of Minnesota. The city of Newport and community at large has welcomed these new homes and families with great enthusiasm," said Stephen Seidel, executive director of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. "All of the sponsors, corporations, churches and hundreds of volunteers who made these homes possible should truly feel proud of accomplishing something so good for our community."
In the heart of the development is the Possibility Build, a collaborative effort between Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and Courage Center to provide affordable, accessible housing for people with disabilities.
The Possibility Build will be home for the Thao-Yang family, whose four-year-old son, Pheng, was born with schizencephaly, a cleft in the left brain that leaves him unable to speak, see, eat solid food, stand or walk alone. The Thao-Yang home has been outfitted with assistive technology, such as a roll-in-shower, wall-mounted toilet, environmental controls and an attached garage with ramp access, which will allow Pheng the opportunity to live more independently and take full advantage of school, physical therapy and family outings--things he couldn't do when his family lived in a one-bedroom walk-up apartment.
"In light of the Possibility Build and visitability features of each new home, it would certainly be appropriate to call this development the 'Possibility Neighborhood,'" said Courage Center CEO Eric Stevens.
Throughout the Possibility Build project, Courage Center contributed its expertise in assistive technology and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity its experience building affordable housing. Together they created a decent, safe, accessible and affordable home for a child with a disability and his family, shared their learnings and once again demonstrated through their collaboration the possibility for such efforts elsewhere.
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity's newest development and the Possibility Build project were made possible by many community and corporate sponsors. A number of homes have a single sponsor, while others have many contributors. Funding to offset the cost of land development for the site was provided by the Lipkin Family Fund and three Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding programs administered by the Washington County Community Services Department, Habitat for Humanity International and Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. RBC Dain Rauscher was the visitability sponsor, providing the funding to add visitability elements to each new home. Other house sponsors include Anderson Corp., Bremer Bank, Touring Group for Cher, Cisco Systems, ELCA of St. Paul and 3M C.A.R.E.S.
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and Courage Center's partnership to provide affordable, accessible housing for people with physical disabilities began with the completion of the first Possibility Build project in New Hope, Minn., in September 2002. The nonprofit housing developer and nationally-known rehabilitation center partnered to create a state-of-the-art home for a couple with cerebral palsy. The 1,352 square foot rambler has numerous features designed to make life easier for its owners, both of whom are in wheelchairs, including keyless entry, mini blinds operated by push-button controls, and a ceiling mounted track system that helps the owners move from a wheelchair to a sofa, bed or bathroom.
About Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical housing ministry and grassroots organization that works to provide simple, decent, affordable housing for and with low-income households. Volunteer labor, donated materials and contributed funds are used to build and renovate homes in the Twin Cities area. These homes are then sold to low-income buyers, at a price which charges no profit and with long-term mortgage financing, provided by Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, which charges no interest. Households served by Habitat are selected based on their housing needs, their financial circumstances and their willingness to partner with Habitat in the process of building their home and other Habitat homes. Qualified partner families work side-by-side with volunteers to turn dreams and donations into the reality of decent, affordable homes.
About Courage Center
Courage Center is a nationally-known, not-for-profit rehabilitation and resource center for people with physical disabilities, brain injuries, speech or vision impairments, or hearing loss. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Courage Center offers comprehensive, life-long services to people of all ages. Courage Center's wide-ranging services are designed to empower people with disabilities to reach their full potential in every aspect of life. For more information about Courage Center, visit http://www.courage.org.
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