Housing Institute for Greater Minnesota
The Housing Institute for Greater Minnesota enhances the effectiveness, efficiency, and capacity of communities to meet housing needs in rural regions of Minnesota. It is an opportunity for housing leaders to come together to share their experiences, learn best practices in housing and community development, and develop creative solutions to bring quality affordable housing to their community.
Forming a five to seven member team, participants identify a project they would like to work on over the course of twelve months. Through in-person training, peer to peer workshops, and technical assistance, teams develop the skills, knowledge and relationships to make their housing project a reality. Teams have the opportunity to receive feedback from funders on their proposed projects/program.
- 12 month commitment.
- Four in-person, 1 1/2 day workshops tailored to meet your project goals.
- Workshops hosted near your region to decrease travel time.
- Teams composed of 5-7 members, representing multiple organizations.
- Teams receive training and technical assistance services from MHP and GMHF.
- Homework and regular check-ins with MHP & GMHF staff between workshops.
- One follow-up event to share team accomplishments post-Housing Institute.
- Travel, lodging, and food costs included.
Participants include housing and redevelopment authorities (HRAs), economic development authorities (EDAs), nonprofit and/or for-profit entities, and community leaders who have expressed a willingness to collaborate.
The Housing Institute for Greater Minnesota is a project of the Minnesota Housing Partnership and Greater Minnesota Housing Fund.
Connecting Residents to Housing Resources
In rural Southwest Minnesota it was difficult to connect residents to housing resources. Through the Housing Institute, the Lincoln County team created a comprehensive website: a one-stop shop for county-wide housing information.
Now individuals seeking rental housing, selling a home, or trying to locate housing repair and assistance programs can easily obtain the resources they need. The website decreased staff time spent redirecting residents to services, freeing up time to focus on other collaborative projects.
"We came to understand more about low-to-moderate income housing needs and how to talk about them in Lincoln County. Our stakeholders understand better now that low-to-moderate income guidelines don't mean that an individual is a low or moderate person. Having the opportunity to report on what we learned at the Housing Institute created a platform for valuable discussion back home."
-Vince Robinson, owner of Development Services Inc. and Lincoln County Housing Institute team member
Strengthening Funding Proposals
For years, the Bluff Country HRA talked about rehabbing the Vesterheim Manor, a Rural Development (RD) property in Southeast Minnesota. Participating in the Housing Institute, the Bluff Country team developed a relationship with USDA—Rural Development staff. This connection helped Bluff Country strengthen their funding proposal for the Vesterheim. They successfully secured funds in fall of 2012.
Improving Rental Housing Quality
To improve local rental conditions, the St. Louis County team decided to create a regional rental code.
Participation in the Housing Institute allowed the team to:
- Collaborate on a project for the first time.
- Meet with rental code experts.
- Develop a community engagement strategy.
- Obtain funding through Minnesota Housing's Rental Rehab Deferred Loan program. The team now administers the RRDL program to local landlords wishing to improve their rental units.
The team plans to continue working on the regional rental code project beyond the Housing Institute.