For the past several years, Little Earth of United Tribes has been working in partnership with the City of Minneapolis and Councilman Gary Schiff’s office toward creating a path for current residents to be able to purchase homes near the Little Earth Community. The unfortunate general disinvestment on the block immediately to the South of Little Earth provides the opportunity for community reinvestment by rehabbing or rebuilding of homes to sell to current Little Earth residents. The program will allow Little Earth to collaborate on, purchase, build, or rebuild the 34 homes located on the E.M. Stately blocks in South Minneapolis for sale primarily through a responsible mortgage/contract for deed program to Little Earth residents. Approximately 15% of the current 212 Little Earth households have the income and are currently taking significant steps toward bettering their financial situation to achieve homeownership, but want to stay near their family and support connections at Little Earth. The intent of the Little Earth of United Tribes Homeownership Initiative (LEUTHI) is to address these goals by delivering a holistic, community-based, solution that lays the groundwork for the fulfillment of self-determination. This program accomplishes this strategic aim providing the following to Little Earth residents:
- A path toward homeownership near Little Earth;
- Job training and employment;
- The opportunity for credit building and/or restoration;
- Revitalization of the homes and community immediately to the South of Little Earth;
- The ability to ensure the assets and community capital invested in the Little Earth community stay in the community;
- Diversity in income and living examples of upward mobility within the community.
A significant collection of partner organizations have lent their expertise to bring this program to the brink of success. The City of Lakes Community Land Trust (CLCLT) now includes over 140 homeowners and provides expertise on the land trust model and credit counseling. The Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) has provided technical and organizational assistance to build the program element. Woodlands Bank provides financial expertise and HUD 184/standard mortgage knowledge. The City of Minneapolis (CPED) has delivered federal NSP funding and local city funds to this project and worked in conjunction with the Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation (GMHC) to acquire the lots on E.M. Stately and deliver developer services to the program. Credit counseling and servicing will be provided through multiple sources including Little Earth, CLCLT and the American Indian Community Development Corporation (AICDC).
Through the lens of a multi-year development effort across 5 partner organizations, the prospect of laying the final financial cornerstone to enable such community-wide social, environmental and economic impact will distinguish itself as one of the most important developments within the history of Little Earth, the City ofMinneapolisand urban American Indian communities nationwide.