RECLAIMING HOPE | Hope is the starting point for Urban Homeworks, the force that brings together low-income families, young professionals, job skill trainees, and volunteers from all walks of life into an exchange that restores homes and creates a space for neighbors to engage.
At age 21, Dave Soderstrom, Urban Homeworks Warranty Manager, and new homeowner through the Northside Home program tattooed “SD” (Super Dave) on his chest. Despite getting into a fair amount of trouble while growing up in North Minneapolis, Dave earned the reputation of someone who could fix anything. His friends used to say, “If you run into a problem, just call Dave. He knows or will figure it out.”
Today, however, Dave is earning his moniker in new ways, Dave is using these same talents to make a difference on the Northside—both professionally and personally. After going back to school to enhance his building skills through the Goodwill Easter Seals Training Program, he became an Urban Homeworks intern. Because he could both build and repair things and was good with people, Dave has been promoted 3 times since starting with Urban Homeworks in 2012.
On a personal level, Dave is also leading by example. In September, he became a Northside Home program homeowner on the 2300 block of Logan. Currently, he and his long time girlfriend are renting, but through the program, will use the next 18 months to get ready to assume a traditional mortgage. “We love our new home. It is quiet, and everyone on our block cares—85 to 90% are all homeowners. We’ve exchanged numbers and look out for one another.”
Though the SD tattoo on his chest is hidden, Dave is living out his “secret identity”. “I had a rough childhood. It took me years to figure out my path in life. I am blessed to work in the same neighborhood where I was once part of the problem—to now be part of the solution, to give back, and lead by example. I could talk all day about changing lives, but it’s much better to show people.”