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Homebuyer Stories

Ahmed Yusuf at his dining room table
Living in an apartment on 24th Street in Minneapolis, Ahmed Yusuf became aware of some townhomes being built across the street. “I liked their physical appearance very much,” he said, “and I had the sense there were some sort of good people involved in building them.”
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The Johnson family
Joyce Johnson was living the American Dream. In 2006, everything changed. Johnson's high-risk pregnancy put her on bed rest and on early maternity leave from her job. Just after she had her baby, her company announced it was moving out of the Twin Cities and she got her pink slip. A month later, she faced major surgery on both feet. What doctors told her would be a four-week recovery turned into almost five months. "It all happened in the blink of an eye," said Johnson.
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The Halcombs
Longtime St. Paul residents Larry and Beverly Halcomb recently found themselves caught in a predicament many homeowners come to dread: the need for immediate, extensive home repair. The need became more and more apparent even as the possibility of seeking financial help grew more and more slim, until the Halcombs happened to notice an advertisement in their community newsletter describing the requirements for A Brush With Kindness; Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity’s home restoration program that pairs low-income homeowners with volunteers.
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Harriet at home
Harriett Mednick could serve as spokeswoman for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity’s program A Brush with Kindness. Through her work with Senior Chore Services, she has referred several senior citizens to the program, which partners applicants who do not have the means to complete repairs on their homes with capable volunteers. A few months ago, Mednick realized her own property in Saint Paul could use some work, and contacted A Brush with Kindness for herself.
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Molly and family
“Having someone to advocate on my behalf with the mortgage company and to navigate me through the process is what made all the difference. It’s what kept me in my home.”
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The Gundrum family
Susan and Kevin Gundrum have never seen themselves as different. After getting married in 1998, they bought their house in West Saint Paul and like most couples they balanced work, bills and home maintenance.
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Natasha's family on their porch
The City of Lakes Community Land Trust’s Homebuyer Initiated Program (HIP) provides CLCLT homebuyers two grants - one to assist with the purchase of a home and one to assist with rehab required to address deferred maintenance, safety and code issues. Natasha Gilbert decided to participate in HIP because it was one of the few programs that permitted low- to moderate-income families to purchase the home of their choice.
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Laura and her family on their porch
Discovering the City of Lakes Community Land Trust (CLCLT) Homebuyer Initiated Program (HIP) made ownership reachable for first-time homebuyer Laura Martinez and her children, David and Rebecca. She found a home in the Fulton neighborhood, where prices are traditionally very high.
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Jackline with her child on the steps of her home
“Before I bought this house,” laughed Jackline Mukiibi, sitting on the couch in her new home in Minneapolis’ Folwell neighborhood, “the most expensive thing I’d ever bought without student loans was my laptop computer. It feels like I own something of great value.”
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Vicky Richardson
Vicky Richardson has three kids and staffs the front desk at Sabathani Community Center in Minneapolis. She’s spent most of her life in the city, but for just over a year had rented a home in Edina through the housing program of Third Way Network, until she found out her unit would no longer be available. Third Way connected her with some resources for finding a new place, and the City of Lakes Community Land Trust (CLCLT) was one of them.
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Barb and her family on their porch
“I don’t know anybody that has an extra $400 a month to spare,” said Barb. “By that point, I was paying almost 70 percent of my income for the mortgage. I knew I was in serious trouble.”
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