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

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. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Calculating The Cost of an ABWK Project

Figuring out material and supply cost for a project is fairly simple and straight forward if you understand the work scope. Arriving at a cost for staff, transportation and warehouse expenses are a more complicated formula.

Habitat for HumanityAt Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, we have decided to create a per day cost for our projects to simplify the process for how we pass on these costs to the homeowners we serve.

For projects that cost $3,500 or more, we put a forgiveable mortgage on the home so that we have a way to secure our investment into the home and community. The mortgage stays on the property between 7 - 10 years depending on the value of the project. We used to calculate costs based on the materials used and 50% of the retail value (which historically would come close to our organizational cost of a project.
Habitat for Humanity

However, as our projects have grown in depth and expense this model is less accurate. So we have decided to calculate our average project expenses based on days onsite including prep work. Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity

You can see how we calculate exterior and interior projects here: ABWK Project Calculator