The BLUU Northside Housing Cooperative Initiative
What is the BLUU Housing Initiative?
The BLUU Northside Housing Cooperative Initiative is a project that embodies our commitment to improve the material conditions of Black lives as an act of our faith.
We started the BLUU Northside Housing Cooperative Initiative in the summer of 2019 by purchasing eight vacant lots in North Minneapolis. Now, we are planning a process that will transform those vacant lots into actually affordable, multi-family units in 2-3 years.
At the end of this project, 32 Black and Indigenous families will be empowered as homeowners in Minneapolis, something that will fundamentally transform access to resources and wealth for generations.
Why this project and why now?
We understand this movement moment we are in as a critical turning point in the history of the country.
As the pressure continues to mount to abolish the police, we understand stable and affordable housing to be one small piece in the puzzle to ending the carceral state.
Creating new actually affordable, long-term housing that can help build wealth for families is a small drop in the bucket, but it’s a drop we want to make to help stabilize communities and change the material conditions for some of our people.
We think liberation comes in many forms, but we know how important stable, clean, aesthetically beautiful housing is to any collective liberation work. We seek to create something that doesn’t exist in the Twin Cities, working in partnership with other groups and organizations that have experience in housing development.
It is our hope and dream that this initiative will change the material conditions for Black and Indigenous families who move into the units we build.
Why is this project uniquely BLUU?
This is a project for our community that puts community connection at the center.
BLUU headquarters is in St. Paul, Minnesota, so we believe in investing in the material well-being of Black folks in the Twin Cities. We will create and support separate community-based, cooperative (co-op) entities for each multi-family housing unit, working with different partners already established in this work. These will be self-sufficient and self-determining entities, managed by the people who have some ownership in the cooperative and who live on the property.
We will support families who move into the units we build with resources and training related to finance, land ownership, and cooperative decision-making.
This is a project that will have long-term, immediate impact in an area that is quickly gentrifying.
We are working to ensure the lots where the properties will be built will be put into a land trust. The land trust will operate separately from the cooperatives. Keeping the land in a land trust will keep the properties truly affordable.
We will sell the developed properties to a land trust entity (for the cost of the land only) to the cooperative entities at the completion of the project.
We are working with a Black architect for the housing initiative.
We are proud to work with Design by Melo’s Principal Architect, Damaris Hollingsworth, on the BLUU Housing Initiative. We believe in supporting and investing in Black-owned businesses.
How can you help us change the material lives of Black and Indigenous Families?
We are in the initial phases of this 550-day project, and our largest need is for capital resources. We were partnering with another Black-led organization that has since dissolved. The other organization was assuming responsibilities and costs for the lot maintenance for our eight vacant lot building sites. That cost is now our responsibility.
We have contracted with Helping Hands Company, a Black-led environmental stewardship company, that handles snow removal and lawn maintenance. It costs approximately $20,000 for both the winter snow removal services and the summer lawn care maintenance for our building sites. In addition, in phase 1 of this project, architectural design and feasibility costs are approximately $38,000.
As we await our feasibility studies and continue building partnerships with other organizations with prolific experience in housing development and financing, you can help us with these initial costs.
We are excited to offer an opportunity for communities dedicated to Black liberation, including UU congregations, to support a project that will empower Black families in Minneapolis for generations.
We hope you’ll help us with this today by making a contribution in an amount that makes sense for you!
You can DONATE ONLINE or via mail by sending a check made out to “BLUU”.
Please include “Housing Initiative” in the memo line and send to:
165 Western Ave N Ste 8
St. Paul, MN 55102