Welcome - This blog was created to discuss the common questions and topics concerning the start-up and ongoing operations of A Brush with Kindness.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Rock the Block

I have heard from several affiliates about their success with the neighborhood or community blitz called "Rock the Block". It first needs to be said that Rock the Block doesn't mean doing all your work in one geographic block.

From the affiliates that I spoke to it refers to a week or weeks of "blitz" work on several homes with large number of volunteers in a designated geographic area (several blocks, neighborhood or community) that helps to revitalize a designated area.

Garage Fix-up
Just like there variety in size of community there is also variety in the types of activities. At Twin Cities Habitat we called our blitz "Garage-A-Palooza". We focused our work on rehabbing garages, landscaping and a block clean-up. We also provided food and had some kid activities for families on event day. It was a one day blitz but much work was done to make this one day a success.

Event Day Clean-up
We began our work months earlier by forming partnerships with several groups in the area. We also canvassed the block we designated for our work to get neighbor buy-in. We decided to focus on one city block where we already had a home we were building. We found another 6 homeowners who were willing to partner with us to either fix-up their garages, do landscaping, yard clean-up or putting up safety lighting in the alley. Much of the garage fix-up happened during the weeks leading up to the event day with regular crews. The lighting happened after the event day.

Event Day Participants

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Aging in Place - Person Centered Priorities

According to a recent article, the top 5 things that assist aging adults remain living in their homes:

     1. Having meaningful connections
     2. A purpose that motivates action                  
     3. Access to transportation and services
     4. Safe and healthy living environment
     5. Support to achieve the above

When folks lose their purpose they lose their motivation for existence.

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is looking for ways to not only help aging homeowners live in a safe and healthy environment but also investigate other ways we can help homeowners age in place.

We are looking at strategic partnerships with other agencies to assist homeowners with their non-housing but essential needs to help them successfully age in place. We are also looking at how we might use our volunteers in more creative ways to help aging homeowners.

Please share your idea's to help homeowners age in place.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Homeowner Interview & Assessment

A Brush with Kindness is not a housing product but a comprehensive service that put people living in their home as #1 priority. We connect caring volunteers that desire to serve their community with struggling homeowners that need their homes repaired and restored.

We assess the home and interview the homeowner during the same visit with the same person. We use one person for both tasks to create a clear, consistent relationship with our homeowners. Because many of our homeowners are vulnerable adults, having one person be the primary contact allows us to build necessary trust to move a project forward.
Home Assessment
A Brush with Kindness has moved to an electronic home assessment form.

See link: Home Assessment - Salesforce.

We use the Salesforce application to assess homeowner needs. We assess our ABWK homes using a smart phone.

At Twin Cities Habitat, we do not do a full home assessment but address immediate health and safety concerns.

We listen to the homeowners story, understand and address their concerns and make sure we take care of any city code violations or insurance cancellation issues. We listen to homeowner concerns about their home and respond to their needs and desires of health and safety as well as the community priorities of safety and value.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Aging in Place

There are 10,000 individuals turning 65 each day. 90% of those adults want to continue to live in their current home as long as possible. 36% of homeowners over the age of 52 added at least one assistive feature to their home in 2012.

Given that over 50% of those we serve through ABWK are aging adults (over 60) and that we are seeing an ever growing need to perform deeper accessibility work in these homes, we are looking to expand our services to these aging homeowners.

We currently install ramps, railings, grab bars and perform other basic accessibility work in some of these homes. This is in addition to our regular health and safety projects we do in partnership with aging adults.

However, as baby boomers continue to reach 60 in droves and more homeowners desire to age in place we see an incredible opportunity to expand our accessibility services to include: zero entry showers, home entrances without steps, widen doorways, install lever door handles etc.

We also see a need for adapting multi-story homes and adapt them to one level living. Either by closing off the upstairs or creating another housing unit to rent so the homeowner has another source of income and another community connection. We also may expand our home building to include senior housing. One possibility might be to exchange a homeowners 2 story home for one that is more "senior friendly."

We have much more research to do to understand where our niche might be in helping aging adults live independently in their homes and communities as long as possible.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Brush with Kindness Week

Announcing A Brush with Kindness Week!
September 19-26, 2015 
Habitat for Humanity

HFHI’s Home Preservation department has partnered with Valspar, Habitat’s national paint partner, to launch the first national “A Brush with Kindness Week” event. This “ABWK Week” – set for September 19 – 26, 2015 – will highlight the home preservation work U.S. affiliates do throughout the year. Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity

Approximately 25 affiliates will be selected to each complete three to five ABWK projects during the event week
 and will receive a reimbursement grant of $1,000 per project up to $5,000.

Visit to learn more.