Friday, October 23, 2009

Even MORE NoMi Downpayment Assistance!

Guest post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

The photo above is from a press conference in Hawthorne celebrating the success of the Minneapolis Advantage program. Piggybacking on that downpayment assistance is a whole slew of neighborhood incentives. I just received word that one such program is expanding...

The following appeared on Facebook from The Pohlad Foundation just expanded the $8,000 Home Buyer Assistance to include both the 55411 Zip Code (Willard Hay, Near North, Hawthore and Jordan) & 55412 (Cleveland, Folwell and McKinley) This is $8,000 Down Payment Assistance - 0% Deferred Loan (no monthly payment) forgiven after 7 years of continued ownership & residency. Available through Neighborhood Housing Services of Minneapolis, Inc. @ 612-521-3581.

This is such good news that Chipper the Entrepreneurial Squirrel stopped gathering nuts momentarily to tell me how happy he is.

For those who may not know, Neighborhood Housing Services administers funds for many of the neighborhood assistance programs in NoMi. The ones NHS doesn't cover are housed at the Center for Energy and Environment (including Hawthorne's downpayment assistance and rehab assistance programs).

So we've got historically low home prices and interest rates here. The Minneapolis Advantage allows for up to $10,000 in assistance, many neighborhoods offer up to $5,000, the Pohlad Family Foundation is chipping in up to $8,000, and Obama's tax credits (which MIGHT expire in November) also help out with up to $8,000. That's as much as $31,000. What are you waiting for? Check out NoMi today!


Anonymous said...

Dyna in Hawthorne says:

Meanwhile, after enduring over a decade of out of control crime I can't get one penny of assistance to fix my roof. Maybe I need to learn how to work the system- buy another house and then fix it up with the $31,000 in subsidy, then abandon my old house and let the city spend $20,000 to tear it down!

mark said...

I was told that the 10K Minneapolis advantage program was out of funding a while ago. Does anyone have an update on this? Also, do the neighborhood assistance programs like the Pohlad grant give you a full 8K or is it a percent of the purchase price like 10% up to 8K for the federal 1st time home buyer credit.

Ranty said...

Mark, there were a couple of pots from which Mpls Advantage funds were coming, and they had different criteria as far as which neighborhoods they applied to, as well as income guidelines. One of the pots is (as I understand it) now empty, but the other was not, last time I checked.

Also, the Pohlad $ is not a "ten percent or up to-" like the tax credit. It's just a straight $8k.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...


I had heard both that funds were still available and that they had run out and not re-committed funds yet. I erred on the side of optimism in this post, but will verify this soon.


CEE does have assistance for existing residents as well, including emergency funds that have more flexible credit and property guidelines (providing the repair needed rises to the level of an emergency). I encourage you to look into those as well.

While I understand the frustration that comes along with seeing what could be interpreted as an imbalance of incentives towards new buyers instead of existing residents, we both know that it's not as simple as the formula you spell out here and on the Minneapolis Issues List. However, my goal here was to spread the word about good news, and if you'd like to continue this discussion I'd be more than willing to do so in a more private forum.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Thanks, Connie! I was JUST ABOUT to call you about this very question.

Mark, if you don't have a Realtor yet, may I recommend Connie Nompelis of Century 21 Luger Realty? She's quite good.

Anonymous said...

Dyna replies to the esteemed Hawthorne Hawkman:

Jeff, I've already checked out the fix up funding available from CEE, etc.. Unfortunately, it's loans while the incentives available for new buyers are outright grants and forgivable loans.

What we see here is the consequences of poorly planned public policy that subsidizes newcomers while telling the folks who've supported the neighborhood to buzz off and pay your taxes. With incentives like these, is it no wonder the Northside looks more rural every day?

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

1. There have been several comments I have rejected by someone called "deepak." These are clearly online gambling spam content. Just following JNS protocol in announcing rejected comments.

2. To Dyna's concerns: Hawthorne does have grant money available under CEE's emergency assistance loans. In terms of whether new buyers or current residents are geting better deals, I personally won't go so far as to call that poor planning.

I believe that people both at the city and in our neighborhood looked around and said that the biggest housing obstacle facing us is that we do not have enough quality owner-occupants. Yes, that is a bigger problem than whether existing residents can afford maintenance/rehab. Therefore, more resources have been directed at the larger and more pressing problem.

The good news is that Hawthorne is discussing what kinds of programs to include in Phase II of our NRP contracts. That money is expected to be in place sometime in 2010 and 70% of it has to be allocated for housing.

We need people like yourself who are speaking out about where the gaps are. The best products and programs we can create will fill the gaps between market conditions and neighborhood needs. Come to our next housing committee meeting, Wednesday Nov. 4, 7 p.m. at Farview and please be a part of that discussion.

Anonymous said...

Dyna replies:

To the best of my knowledge, their are no home repair subsidies available in Hawthorne, the best we have available is low interest loans. Meanwhile we're giving free money to folks for buying Minneapolis homes they probably would have bought anyway. Note also that most of the homes bought were in the better off parts of the neighborhoods along the Drive, etc.. To top that off, note that according to the figures given next to the map, about two thirds of the home we're bought by people that already live in Minneapolis.

This is clearly a failed program that is subsidizing cross town moves rather than building neighborhood stability. Meanwhile I write today from a Hawthorne friend's house who just got a missive from Minneapolis Inspections ordering her to secure her garage... But she has no garage on her property!

With "incentives" like this, is it any wonder citizens are fleeing Minneapolis?

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

The fact that many of those who have purchased homes under the Minneapolis Advantage program already lived in the city does not make the program a failure.

It may bear more looking into, but I posit that many of those people were renters who were living in more stable areas of the city and moved into affected, targeted neighborhoods and have improved those areas. The community they left was most likely not severely damaged from that departure, and Minneapolis Advantage can be seen as a success.

This is merely my belief that may or may not be upheld by a closer look at the program itself. Which, I might add, is basically your stance as well.

I also see you've started another thread on the Minneapolis Issues List. I'll post one response there and then I am done engaging in this back-and-forth with you, Dyna.

On the archived issues list, you have been saying the same things for as far back as the archives go (and some NoMi and Hawthorne folk tell me it's been much longer). This tells me that either we're dealing with an almost intractable problem or you are simply not willing to be a part of the solution.

If it's the former, please, please do come to the upcoming Hawthorne Housing Committee meeting because these very topics will be up for discussion. If it's the latter, we'll I've got better things to do.

Anonymous said...

I would like to reiterate some of Dyna's concerns and also add that making money available for fix-up is not the only issue. You said that you wanted to continue the discussion in a different forum for fact gathering purposes. I live in Webber-Camden (I know, we have our own NRP office, but that's another story for another day). Do you want my 2 cent's worth? I assume that crashing your meeting on Nov. 4 would just not be the done thing, but would you like comments left in this thread, or perhaps in a different one to be started?


Don "Republican" Allen said...

Jeff - You seem heinously miss-informed on programs and how this housing program works. Al la Empowerment Zone, the programs you speak of are antiquated and skewed. Home owners in need of home repairs and other assistance are provided direction by people like you who for the most part work for non-profit social service agencies and don't understand what business is and how it works. A large amount of these program point people have never ran a business, let alone run a "shoe shine shop."

The Advantage Programs advantage is not only disenfranchising people who currently live in Minneapolis but also decreasing the "people of color" count as well.

There are plans for North Minneapolis that you have no idea are in the making. If you we're truly about the "community" you would start cranking out CBA (community benefit agreements) with Catalyst, Ackerberg Group and the YMCA/YWCA. Until that point, all I see is folly and sevre stratification.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

@ AKL - I would be interested in your thoughts, and you can either post them here or send me a message at

I began to close off the discussion with Dyna because we have a housing committee meeting coming up to deal with those very issues and my personal preference is to deal with residents in my area through that forum. (Dyna is of course free to post comments on this blog and I'm sure that John or I will approve most if not all of them.)

@ Don Allen:

The Minneapolis Advantage program is kind of hard to call "antiquated." In terms of some of the assistance programs we have in Hawthorne, I agree that many of those programs have guidelines that do not accurately reflect current market conditions.

That is precisely what Hawthorne will be taking a look at as we design Phase II of NRP and consistently evaluate the success of our existing funds. Having spent six years in the mortgage industry myself, I understand exactly how important it is to have the input of people who are on the front lines of doing mortgage business in my neighborhood right now. Their accounts are taken very seriously as we move forward.

In terms of the plans I have no idea about: are those the same plans that have led to a 40% reduction in violent crime, an 80% reduction in homicides, and development along West Broadway that is the only area in the COUNTRY unimpeded by the recession? I think I'll take those nefarious plans as a benefit to my community any day of the week, thank you very much.

Johnny Northside said...

Don, if you have information about plans in the making that we know nothing about, please post this stuff in comments and/or put it on your own blog and post links here as part of your comments. Otherwise, talk of nefarious conspiracies we "know nothing about" just comes off as, well...


Furthermore, people leaving North Minneapolis has been caused by the foreclosure crisis. It is revitalization that will bring people BACK, not drive out MORE people.

Don "Republican" Allen said...

@JNS and Jeff: Its a fact that crime can be charted by numbers and stats if reported.

But what happens to the crimes to the citizens of North Minneapolis like the obvious lack of economic development; unemployment and the purpose face changing of NoMo?

Watch your step.

Johnny Northside said...

Well, I'll say some things that need to be said, and I'm notorious for doing that:

I like Dyna personally and find Dyna a lot of fun.

HOWEVER, Dyna is always talking about overly-aggressive inspections, etc., while Dyna's property doesn't exactly get fixed up all spiffy-like.

Dyna tried running for the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council board on that tired horse and didn't win. She lost to a guy (Bryan Thao Worra) who wasn't even present. Dyna's negativity just didn't fly.

Some folks (not just me) feel like Dyna should fix up Dyna's property and quit trying to create a one-person bandwagon, because we don't see anybody jumping on board. This talk about no programs being available is more of the same Dyna-negativity.

None of this changes the fact I personally LIKE Dyna. But I'm saying this negativity about housing issues appears to come from a place that's always negative, and doesn't reflect most residents of NoMi.

Anonymous said...

Dyna replies:

Well, looks like we found a way to drive traffic to this blog...

John, let me set the record straight. I humbly apologize for the fact that my house doesn't meet your estetic standards. I had to put that ugly fence up because the neighborhood juvenile delinquents were busting out my windows on a regular basis. I repainted the trim that so irritated Inspections, and now just about every other building on the block has peeling paint. If you don't like the way my house looks, come up with some $$$ to pretty it up- I can't afford to waste any more money on it.

As for the Hawthorne elections, you might want to check the minutes and discuss the results with the LWV folks that conducted the election. I ran because we didn't have enough candidates to fill the board vacancies. At the last minute a candidate I quite well respect jumped into the race. I would have preferred to have withdrawn and deferred to him but didn't have time to before the voting began. Don't worry, I won't make the mistake of running for the Hawthorne board again. And if you want to continue the personal insults, you risk losing me as an ally in your struggle to turn the Northside around.

veg*nation said...

Dyna--it was fun chatting with you at the uncle bill's demolition. i guess i have to second a lot of JNS's post, in the sense that you bring up interesting points, but i'm just not buying the negativity. the truth is, that i'm in the perfect position to feel bitter if i wanted to--i bought my NoMi house right at the top of the market, without any of the incentive programs i would have been eligible for if i were buying now. boo hoo!

but the point is that i have a house, and these incentive programs are attempts to (a) give other people that same opportunity, and (b) help the neighborhood thrive. i just can't feel bad about that. sure, let's keep track of what the results are and try different tactics as necessary, but i just don't see the need to be adversarial about it.

as far as living in the city, it sounds like from what you are saying, you are thinking that maybe it isn't a good fit for you--i don't know.

personally, i think there are two kinds of homeowners: those who can stand the thought of living in a modern (even prefab) house with wall to wall carpeting, and those who can't. personally, i think allowing cheap pre-fab homes to be built in historic neighborhoods like those on the northside would be selling out one of the neighborhood's greatest assests--it's historic character.

you couldn't pay me to live outside the city. in my NoMi home, i can go for weeks without seeing a fast food sign, and months without seeing a big box store or a big parking lot, or even a freeway. i don't own a car, and have never felt the need to--not a lifestyle choice I could make if i lived out in the burbs.

for some of us, living in the city is a choice.

i think we ALL agree on the importance of saving older homes that can be saved. some older buildings (like uncle bill's) are structurally unsound, but i'm sure that you are right that there are homes that have deteriorated rapidly during vacancy, that might have been saved otherwise. i do agree with you that it definitely makes sense to find pragmatic ways to identify & save those properties--but i just don't think that we're the first people to recognize the importance of doing so.

Johnny Northside said...

Dyna, there were folks from the issues list who organized a party on a vacant lot, just responding to your constant "neighborhood negativity." You call yourself an "ally" of neighborhood revitalization but you have two constant, harping themes:

1.) The city is coming down too hard on dilapidated properties, in particular YOURS.

2.) Somebody should GIVE YOU A PILE OF MONEY to fix your property. The money should be easy to get, with no strings attached or very few strings. Just hand you the check and you'll take care of the rest.

You go on and on with these two themes in public forums, including this one and the Minneapolis issues list. No crowd jumps on your bandwagon in a meaningful way, but that doesn't stop you from driving the bandwagon all by yourself, making a lot of bandwagon noise but not REALLY a bandwagon.

You put words out into the internet, constantly, telling folks to BEWARE because if they buy property in North Minneapolis because, oh gee, they'll have all these expensive issues with inspectors. So how does putting those ideas out there all the time make you any "ally" of neighborhood revitalization?

Thank you for your views on what happened at the neighborhood election, why you ran, etc.

And I never criticized the aesthetics of your house. I criticized your constant criticism.

Anonymous said...

Hey DOn Allen -

I know how you can drive up the count of 'people of color' in north mpls - you could MOVE HERE YOURSELF!

Until then... blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah......

Anonymous said...

Dyna says:

Well, sorry John, but I refuse to drink Minneapolis' Kool-Aid. My friend Stephanie that I was cruising around with yesterday gave up on Minneapolis long ago- she's sunk around $150,000 into her Starbuck home and comes into Minneapolis only for work. That's money that she would have invested in Minneapolis if the city had treated her better.
Several other current and former Minneapolis residents saw the Strib article on the city's harrassment of me and agree that the city was wrong. Outside of Minneapolis, even the most liberal died in the wool democrats agree that the city was wrong.

As for the party, the first one was definately an attempt to embarass me... Says just how vengeful some of Minneapolis "true believers" can be. The organizers and I later made up and we've had a few more parties since.

You might want to read my posts on the Minneapolis Issues list and on your own blog... They are not "constantly negative". But as long as you believe so, I'm starting to wonder why I bother being positive if your going to dump on me because I'm not always a cheerleader for Hawthorne. I've been your ally before, but apparently because I don't agree with you 100% of the time I'm not an ally?

I give up... unless someone can convince me otherwise, I'm abandoning Minneapolis and it's taxes, inspectors, and "my way or the highway" self appointed neighborhood activists.

veg*nation said...

wow, Dyna, i grew up in the suburbs, and our family was considered outrageously bohemian because my father set the blade on the lawnmower a quarter of an inch higher than the neighbors did. i can't imagine what would have happened if we'd had a gravel driveway!

Johnny Northside said...

Dyna, you've been singing the "I'm abandoning Minneapolis" tune for a long time, too. Nobody believes that tune and nobody is going to throw a big pile of money your way or fix your house for free just to make you sing a different tune.

The activists who threw a picnic in your neighborhood were making a point about your never-ending issues list negativity regarding the safety of your neighborhood during a time when things were indeed turning around, and continue to turn around, but you were making things sound like a war zone WHEN THEY WERE NOT. That's the infamous Dyna Sluyter neighborhood negativity that I am referencing, well known on the Minneapolis issues list and, gee, here it springs up on THIS blog like an invasive species from another internet biome. Excuse my frankness. I'm infamous for THAT.

However, I'm not familiar with the STrib article you are referencing. Feel free to post a link if you like. (Assuming the link still works...that's directed at the STrib, not you)

This post was originally about EVEN MORE NoMi DOWNPAYMENT ASSISTANCE. Not the famous trim around your famously broken windows for which you've been so famously oppressed by the heartless city of Minneapolis.

Yes, the city is known to make mistakes and maybe push too hard and too impersonally. But you should look into the CEE thing as Jeff suggested. Then again, roofs need to be fixed from time to time and money must be budgeted accordingly. In regard to Starbuck...

You and I both know the town of Starbuck quite well. (Heck, a relative of mine just recently sawed down that one oak tree which threatened to fall on the church and no professional tree trimmer was willing to take the risk of pulling it down, if you know the one I mean...)

Out in Starbuck and little towns like that, a lot of building standards are just left to slide. Sometimes. Not always. But often.

Well...Minneapolis ain't Starbuck. Quit bringing up Starbuck, Starbuck, Starbuck. We're all tired of hearing about Starbuck, too. It's random and it's irrelevant.

Fix your house. Look into CEE money. And if you're going to get on the internet and gripe about Minneapolis, you can expect those of us who love it here to gripe right back. Yes, things are rough sometimes but we're TURNING THINGS AROUND. If you're on our side, be on our side instead of being like the soldier in a unit who spreads negativity and defeatism and--for all intents and purposes--may as well be on the OTHER side.

Anonymous said...

Dyna replies:

John, blind loyalty and drinking the kool-aid doesn't get things changed for the better. Sorry, but I refuse to fall on my sword for Hawthorne and surely not for Minneapolis.

MeganG. said...

Excuse me John and Dyna, but I believe you both have it wrong in regards to the picnic that was organized. As one of the organizers, I can't speak for them all but I believe they would agree with me, the reason we rallied and organized a picnic was because we heard Dyna's cries of feeling isolated in a sometimes crime-challenged neighborhood and we simply wanted to be there for her.

We didn't want to embarass her.

And we weren't trying to call out her negativity. We just wanted to be there for her. At first Dyna resisted because, I believe, when someone feels isolated, cynical and perhaps lonely, it can be difficult to just drop that brick wall guard and let people in.

That's all. It all turned out great and I wish we had done more this past summer.

Anonymous said...

Dyna, I must say, it has gotten to a point where I am starting to believe you're like the "boy that cried wolf".

Many residents for numerous reasons have become fed-up with NOMI over the years. Some changed their attitude and became part of the solution. Some withdrew and still live here. And still others got fed-up with it and moved-out.

Routine maintenance of your home is an expense that every homeowner incurs. No govenrment (especially the City of MPLS) is in a position to subsidize existing homeowners for routine maintenance.

I have heard this same story (in different versions) from you for well over six years now. When home values were high (prior to the market collapse) you weren't willing to reinvest in your residence and were threatening to move to Starbuck. Now that the housing market collpased, you want someone to provide you with an incentive to maintain your residence.

If your preference is Starbuck, then you really should move there. If it's NOMI, then you should set an example of the things you'd like to see in your life. But in either case, PLEASE don't continue to live your life unhappy and wishing you were living somewhere else. Life's too short and it's too easy to move...

Elizabeth Sibet said...

When I googled Pohlad grant online, this site showed up. For people who want to buy foreclosures and short sales in Willard Hay, Harrison, and Near North, there are still 9 Minneapolis Advantage loans of $10,000 available-I just verified today. No one has applied in over a week with an executed Purchase Agreement so still a great opportunity for people who want to make NoMi their home.