Rebuilding Neighborhoods | In the most disadvantaged neighborhoods of the Twin Cities, Urban Homeworks focuses the combined resources of individuals, churches, businesses, government entities and other nonprofits to transform foreclosed, condemned or boarded properties into dignified, quality places to live.
By Andrea Lee
Spring and the scent of Pine Sol is in the air! Urban Homeworks recently launched a new rental resident caretaker program. As of February 1st, there are 11 Resident Caretakers managing the general upkeep of the rental properties at which they reside. The properties at which caretakers are engaged represent 61 of the 119 units that UHW manages. This new program helps address the challenges of managing scattered rental sites, AND creates a stronger sense of ownership for many of our renters. Even after just a few months of the program’s launch, Angelo Thurmond, Urban Homeworks’ property maintenance manager, has seen significant improvements in the daily upkeep of these rental properties. He loves walking in a building and smelling Pine Sol—knowing that the resident caretaker has worked hard to clean rental unit common areas.
After being selected through an application and interview process, caretakers receive a reduced rent for performing such tasks as picking up garbage and cleaning common areas, ensuring laundry facilities are operational, and serving as a first point of contact for any maintenance/security issues or concerns.
However, rent reduction is not the only benefit to being a Resident Caretaker. This new program offers residents the opportunity to develop people and job skills. Caretakers participate in ongoing trainings and roundtable discussions. One caretaker, Jewelean Jackson, has even enrolled in a property maintenance course and will soon earn her certificate.
The new resident caretaker program emphasizes Urban Homeworks’ commitment to rebuild neighborhoods with more than just construction supplies. The work is not done after a building is physically complete. Resident caretakers help build a culture of resident investment and ownership in these rental properties.
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