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Ana in front of her Habitat for Humanity home in North Minneapolis.
Ana in front of her Habitat for Humanity home in North Minneapolis.

A home of their own

Dozens of people in the Minneapolis area, including Ana, a mother of three, have become homeowners thanks to Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and Wells Fargo.

January 4, 2018

Ana always wanted to own a home for herself and her kids. But with not enough money for a down payment and a low credit score, she was turned down for a mortgage. Fortunately, she found Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and recently spent the holidays with her three kids — in their own home in North Minneapolis.

“It was amazing for my kids, knowing they have an actual house they can go to and run around and play in, and no one will say, ‘You can’t make noise,’” Ana said. “It’s an awesome feeling. I was renting a house before, but it wasn’t mine, so I was throwing my money away.”

Ana is the owner of one of 38 Habitat for Humanity homes Wells Fargo has fully sponsored in the Twin Cities region. Since 1993, the company has donated more than $4.8 million to sponsor work on more than 160 homes, including the 38 home sponsorships, 24 A Brush with Kindness paint and repair projects, and nine Women Build homes.

Wells Fargo plans to continue its support for Twin Cities Habitat with a multiyear $1.2 million commitment to create affordable homeownership opportunities for local families. The grant will fund the construction of 16 homes over the next five years to commemorate the 25-year relationship.

“We have a long history of working with Habitat for Humanity — revitalizing local neighborhoods, building stronger diverse communities, and providing positive impact through public-private collaborations,” said Dave Kvamme, lead region president for Wells Fargo’s Upper Midwest region. “In addition to providing grants, our team members are very active and engaged volunteers who support their local communities by applying their time and talents where they live and work to create affordable and sustainable housing.”

More than 900 Wells Fargo team members volunteer each year with Twin Cities Habitat. Since 1993, they have worked on more than 100 projects for approximately 100,000 hours through the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation’s Team Member Volunteer Program totaling approximately 100,000 hours. Since its inception in 1993, the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation has invested more than $190 million to neighborhood revitalization, along with mobilizing more than 4.7 million team member volunteer hours to build and rehabilitate nearly 7,100 homes and counting.

Building ‘brighter futures’

Wells Fargo’s continued commitment will also help Twin Cities Habitat meet a goal in its Impact 2020 strategic plan: to more than double Habitat homeownership opportunities by the year 2020.

“Wells Fargo’s relationship with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has helped build brighter futures for dozens of local families over the years,” said Susan Haigh, president and CEO of Twin Cities Habitat. “Wells Fargo’s investment in affordable homeownership means families can truly thrive — kids do better in school, families are healthier, homeowners have more financial independence, and parents give their children stability they might otherwise lack.”

Ana hoped for all of these outcomes when she learned about Twin Cities Habitat. She and her kids were living with her brother, who was about to get married, when Ana realized she needed her own home. She looked on Habitat’s website and read a few stories about other homeowners. Seeing stories of other low-income families and single parents inspired Ana to apply in May 2015.

After being on the waiting list, Ana received an email about orientation, where she learned about the next steps for the homeownership program. She had to earn at least 250 volunteer hours by helping to build other people’s houses or working in Habitat’s home improvement outlet, ReStore; attend classes on topics like house maintenance, being a good neighbor, and managing money; and provide closing costs — all while being pregnant with her youngest son.

Ana said it was challenging at times to meet the requirements, since she had her infant son about two months early, but she met them. Construction on her house started in the fall of 2016, and it was finished in the spring of 2017. Ana and her three children moved in Sept. 15, 2017.

Today, Ana makes affordable monthly mortgage payments to Twin Cities Habitat. She said she also plans to continue volunteering with Habitat so that others can achieve their dream of homeownership. “It seems like a forever process, but it does end, and the end result is amazing,” Ana said. “Having to deal with a preemie was tough, but it all paid off. I’m grateful I didn’t give up.”

Ana added that it’s all been worth it to give her kids a home of their own. “It comes down to my kids and showing them anything is possible and that hard work pays off,” Ana said. “I wanted them to understand if you push yourself and work hard, you can achieve anything.”

Contributors: Jessica Pacek
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