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What Is Considered Affordable Housing and Why it Matters

At CommonBond, we believe a stable home is the foundation for everything in life. Being able to afford a safe place to live is a key part of the American dream of opportunity—and as we expand into our fourth state, we know too many folks in Rapid City, SD can’t afford a safe, quality place […]

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Collective Leadership for a Promising Future

As part of our 50th anniversary theme “Our Neighbors, Our Communities,” all three CEOs from throughout CommonBond’s history came together for a conversation about our past and how it can inform our future. Their dialogue reminds us that a commitment to justice and to community, in all its forms, must always… Read More

We’re excited to share: An anniversary art piece!

As we continue celebrating our 50th anniversary year, we are happy to announce a first-time initiative: throughout the year, we’ll be releasing four locally-commissioned art pieces, each representing our anniversary theme, “Our Neighbors, Our Communities.” Today, we’re excited to share the first finished piece!  Click the image… Read More

Where Affordable Housing Fits into Ending Homelessness

A question we hear a lot is, “where does CommonBond fit into ending homelessness?” And the answer lies in our mission and belief that a home is the foundation for everything else in life. While we don’t offer emergency shelter like many organizations focusing on homelessness, affordable housing is fundamentally… Read More

Even Remotely, Art Creates Connections

When the pandemic began to impact our communities nearly a year ago, CommonBond’s Arts and Aging programs were forced to pause and pivot. While it took some time to navigate the logistics of translating these typically in-person arts classes to a remote setting, staff were committed to finding solutions… Read More

Employee Appreciation Day: Grand Key Award

In honor of Employee Appreciation Day, we’re proud to announce our 2020 Grand Key Award winner, Hayley Nemmers! The Grand Key Award is presented each year to a CommonBond staff member who has been nominated by their coworkers for dedication to their team, residents, and our mission. One of the… Read More

A Guide to Types of Donations to Nonprofits

When it comes to the types of donations one can make to a nonprofit, the possibilities are nearly endless. From providing your time and resources to establishing a legacy donation after your death, CommonBond relies on the generosity and philanthropy of people like you to provide services for the nearly… Read More

Milwaukee’s Bronzeville & King Drive: A Discussion with Ray Hill and Deshea Agee

As part of our 50th Anniversary theme “Our Neighbors, Our Communities,” Ray Hill, Milwaukee native and CommonBond’s leader in Wisconsin, recently sat down for a conversation with Deshea Agee, Executive Director of the Historic King Drive Business Improvement District in Milwaukee. Their dialogue reminds us that strong partnerships and relationships—between… Read More

Defining a new “normal”

I’m hearing pining for a “return to normal.” I can understand it—the pandemic has affected us all in ways that range from inconvenient to downright devastating—but I’ve been thinking a lot about how I hope “back to normal” isn’t actually our path forward. ‘Normal’ won’t be good enough. ‘Normal’ was… Read More

Then & Now: A conversation with Ed Flahavan

  Former Catholic priest Ed Flahavan was instrumental in the founding of CommonBond Communities (CBC). Ed has always been deeply engaged in community; among other roles, he was a civil rights activist motivated by liberation theology, as well as a voter registration organizer. He observed once that he “never felt… Read More

Why Eviction Prevention Is Worth the Social Return on Investment (SROI)

Understanding the return on someone’s investment is nuanced: there’s the dollar-for-dollar return (if I invest a dollar, how much am I getting back?) but then there’s social return on investment (SROI) that looks at the investment from a much broader perspective. What Is Social Return on Investment? Social return on… Read More

How to Become a Strong Advocate for Affordable Housing

Advocacy can sound like a big word filled with to-do lists and action items. The truth is that there is a broad range of ways in which you can be an advocate, and all of them are important. On the most basic level, affordable housing advocates are those who take… Read More

Recent funding awards help create new homes

While 2020 has not been an easy year for anyone, our communities remain resilient. We’re so grateful to everyone who continued supporting our work amidst the challenges, and we recently received exciting news that gives us even more hope for a better and stronger 2021: CommonBond received funding awards from… Read More

The Impact of Community: Toys for Tots Distribution in Iowa

As 2020 comes to a close, we are immensely grateful for all of our supporters, community partners, volunteers, and staff who make our work building stable homes, strong futures, and vibrant communities possible. While this year has introduced very real challenges that have threatened stability for so many folks in… Read More

“Like Night and Day” – George’s story

My name is George (you might have seen my video recently), and I’ve been a resident at Upper Post Veterans Community for about five years. As the end of the year gets closer, I’m sharing my story because I know how important it is for… Read More

2020 Most Admired CEOs: Deidre Schmidt, CommonBond Communities

Earlier this year, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal announced their list of “2020 Most Admired CEOs,” and included was CommonBond Communities CEO and President Deidre Schmidt. She is among 10 Minnesota CEOs recognized for professional achievements, community involvement, and steady leadership. We are especially grateful to have such… Read More

What Is Considered Affordable Housing and Why it Matters

At CommonBond, we believe a stable home is the foundation for everything in life. Being able to afford a safe place to live is a key part of the American dream of opportunity—and as we expand into our fourth state, we know too many folks in Rapid City, SD can’t… Read More

Safe Connections and Creative Expression through Youth Arts Programming

As communities and individuals, we’ve all experienced, in some capacity, the extraordinary challenges of adapting to the new realities of the pandemic; you’ve likely also experienced the joy that comes with opportunities to safely connect with others and doing something you love amidst great stress and uncertainty in our communities. Read More

How Communities Benefit from Affordable Housing and Built-In Services

The need for affordable housing is more necessary than ever, not only for those who rely on this housing, but for neighborhoods that need the community benefits of affordable housing. With the continued fallout from COVID-19, the social benefits of affordable housing actually help entire communities—which is something that isn’t… Read More

Remembering Dutchess, and Celebrating New Friendship

If you’ve ever visited our Upper Post Veteran’s Community, you probably met Dutchess. A sweet, gentle Golden Retriever, she was known for seeking out individuals who might be stressed or anxious, and sitting on their feet to offer her soft head for a few pets. She was a loyal friend… Read More

Twin Cities Masks Distribution: Helping Neighbors Stay Safe

Throughout the summer, CommonBond Communities was happy to serve as the Twin Cities distribution site for Minnesota affordable housing providers to pick up donated masks for their residents. The distribution events were part of a larger mask distribution initiative driven by the Governor’s Office to ensure that everyone—including those who… Read More

6 Ways Affordable Housing Can Boost Local Economies

Affordable housing is, unfortunately, a topic that’s largely misunderstood by the public. Myths and misconceptions about affordable housing developments are based on fear around negative stereotypes, property values, and the change it brings to neighborhoods—all of which are common arguments in opposition of a new affordable housing community. In reality,… Read More

School’s back in session, and we’re ready to help.

It’s no surprise that back-to-school looks different this year. Parents and teachers alike have grappled with what’s best for youth and families ever since COVID-19 closed schools and many workplaces in March. Months later, there are still conflicting answers. But we have been working relentlessly, re-imagining our options to ensure… Read More

Lifting Spirits with Art at Northpoint and Falls Meadowridge

Amidst all of the difficulties that COVID-19 has introduced, CommonBond staff are committed to finding ways to connect and spark some joy within our communities. Recently, staff at Northpoint Townhomes and Falls Meadowridge Townhomes organized some creative remote activities with their residents to help lift spirits. The “Color Northpoint Beautiful”… Read More

How to Volunteer in Milwaukee Right Now

Like many cities across the U.S., Milwaukee, Wisconsin is contending with the health crisis of COVID-19 and unrest in response to longtime struggles with racism. Milwaukee is consistently listed as one of the most segregated cities in the country, and the… Read More

1,700 Masks Later, A Resident Keeps Sewing for her Community

In spite of all the challenges that COVID-19 has brought, one resident at Yorkdale has found a way to keep herself busy at home and support her community by putting her sewing skills to work—personally making and donating masks for friends, family, and community members. Read more about her community… Read More

4 Nonprofits Helping Iowa Derecho Storm Victims

Last week, many communities and homes were devastated by an extreme weather event called a derecho storm in Iowa. The derecho—a massive, long-lasting storm with hurricane qualities characterized by extreme winds and thunderstorms—flattened power lines and fields of crops, and caused severe damage to homes and businesses across the state. Read More

CommonBond’s Continued Expansion Efforts across the Midwest

With the economic repercussions of COVID-19 continuing to threaten the health of our communities, the need for homes that are safe and affordable is more urgent than ever. In the face of great instability for so many renters across the country, CommonBond Communities remains deeply committed to providing supportive services… Read More

How to Volunteer in Iowa Right Now

The health crises of COVID-19 and civil unrest have tested cities across the country. In Eastern Iowa, cities including Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport share these struggles and are grappling with how to serve their most vulnerable populations. Record-high unemployment has left many Iowans without a steady… Read More

How to Volunteer in Minneapolis Right Now

2020 has brought on a set of challenges unlike anything the city of Minneapolis has ever faced. First was the urgent response to the health crisis of COVID-19. Then, the killing of George Floyd cast a light on the racist systems still deeply rooted in the city and… Read More

Increasing Affordability in the Greater Twin Cities Area

The end of July brought two exciting property and land acquisitions—Willow Wood Estates property in Plymouth (pictured above), and Owasso Gardens land in Roseville. These purchases will result in 100 more units of affordable housing for communities in the greater Twin Cities area! Located at 10850 South Shore Drive just… Read More

Notice of security incident

To provide full transparency for supporters of CommonBond Communities, we want to share that a third-party vendor we contract with experienced a security breach. Blackbaud, which hosts our database containing CommonBond supporters (and is the largest cloud software company in the world serving nonprofits), had a ransomware attack on its… Read More

Meadow Village: A Critical Preservation in Milwaukee

After acquisition of Meadow Village in early May, CommonBond Communities has now closed on rehabilitation financing for this 90-unit, Section 8 housing community in the north central part of Milwaukee! Meadow Village provides critical affordable housing for Milwaukee families—in a city where evictions and access to housing have been pressing… Read More

The Court is Finished!

Last November, we set a goal to raise $32,000 on Give to the Max Day in order to create a new, safe play space for our Torre de San Miguel community in St. Paul, MN. The basketball and play court needed major work—in the past few years, between… Read More

CommonBond’s Involvement at the Ford Site

CommonBond is excited to be involved in the Ford site redevelopment in St. Paul! Our four-story, 60-unit senior housing community will be just south of Ryan Companies’ six-level mixed-use building planned at the northeast corner of the site. We’re set to begin construction in early 2021. We are proud to… Read More

In solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community

At CommonBond, we’re taking a moment to celebrate! Today, the Supreme Court said the language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Until today, a worker could be fired in more than half the states for… Read More

Caring for One Another During COVID-19

Community has always been at the heart of our work. Amidst so much uncertainty and crisis, finding ways to care for our communities and to stay connected is critically important. Especially during these times, it’s necessary to remember that there will always be folks in our communities who… Read More

Supporting Students: Learning Can’t Stop Now

Around this time last year, we wrote about what’s called the “summer slide,” which is when students lose some of the academic gains they made during the previous school year. Avoiding the summer slide takes intentional focus on reading and learning, and for families with low incomes, this can… Read More

His name was George Floyd.

A message from our leader, Deidre Schmidt: I am writing to reflect on the May 25th killing by a Minneapolis police officer of an unarmed black man who was suspected of a non-violent offense. His name was George Floyd. The grotesque disregard for his humanity and brutal ending of his… Read More

Nourishing Neighbors: Increasing Food Access During COVID-19

It’s no question that COVID-19 has introduced incredible, unprecedented challenges to our communities. Amidst all the challenges, however, are great examples of connection and community members going out of their way to support neighbors. We are happy to share one of these moments of community-building that’s happening—in spite of the… Read More

CommonBond Communities CEO among ‘Most Admired’

CommonBond Communities CEO and President, Deidre Schmidt, has been named one of the “2020 Most Admired CEOs” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Deidre is among 10 Minnesota honorees recognized for professional achievements, community involvement, and overall leadership. She has been the CEO of CommonBond since 2014. Deidre possesses a… Read More

Deidre Schmidt on America’s Rental Housing 2020

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently released their America’s Rental Housing 2020 report, outlining the extremely tight rental market nationwide and the rising number of cost-burdened renters. Local governments are often on the front line of these issues, and because of Minneapolis’ bold… Read More

Pohlad Family Foundation dedicates $500K for Gateway Northeast

As you may know, 2019 was a year of tremendous growth for CommonBond. Between 2019 and 2020, we will have been acquiring, rehabbing, and constructing more than 900 units of affordable housing. Many people wonder how we fund all of this development—the truth is that it takes numerous partners… Read More

A foundation for taking steps

Homelessness and mental illness are often directly connected. For Anna, a CommonBond supporter, both have had a huge effect on her family through her daughter’s experience. Read as she shares part of her daughter’s story, and how finding stability within her CommonBond community is reshaping her daughter’s life and their… Read More

Let’s Fix the Court — Give to the Max!

Think back to when you were growing up. Where do some of your favorite childhood memories take place? Maybe it was your backyard, a cabin, or the nearby playground. For CommonBond youth at our Torre de San Miguel property, the place for making memories is on the basketball court at… Read More

Bringing Midway Peace Park to Life

After 10 years of advocating, organizing, and designing, Midway Peace Park is now under construction in St. Paul—and a celebration was very much in order! Recently, the St. Paul Midway neighborhood hosted a party called “The Park is Coming” to celebrate this monumental community feature. It was also a chance… Read More

Meet Rachel, Grand Key Award winner

We’re proud to announce our 2019 Grand Key Award winner, Rachel Ladd, who was presented with the award (and a well-deserved Wonder Woman headband) at CommonBond’s all-staff retreat. Rachel is an Advantage Services Coordinator at our Yorkdale Townhomes community in Edina, MN. The Grand Key Award honors an employee who… Read More

Creating Opportunities for Vibrant Lives

 “In this building there is purpose. That’s the most important thing about this building.” – Judy, a CommonBond resident Throughout life, we’re all looking for a feeling of belonging and purpose. But as we age, that sense of… Read More

School’s out for summer. Now what?

Rachel Ladd is a CommonBond Advantage Services Coordinator at Yorkdale Townhomes in Edina, MN. Think back—can you remember that last-day-of-school feeling? The promise of summer freedom is usually irresistible. But after the first week of sleeping in and playing video games all day, the boredom sets in. And when a… Read More

We’re coming to Rapid City!

We’re excited to share we are expanding the geography of our work by teaming up with great partners in Rapid City, South Dakota! With plans to begin acquiring and developing in 2020, we’re working closely with Rapid City leaders and advocates to not only positively impact housing needs, but also… Read More

Stopping the Summer Slide

With warm weather consistently rolling in, many people are excited for what finally feels to be the start of summer. Family vacations, baseball games, and grilling out are welcome anticipations. But buried under these fun plans is a problem that many families struggle with: how do we keep kids cared… Read More

Four Eviction Myths

Evictions are traumatic, and over the years, we’ve heard a lot of misconceptions about them. We can all agree that evictions are bad, but the impacts are a lot farther reaching than most realize. So, we want to take a minute to share a few of the more… Read More

Success in housing: How much does criminal background matter?

For more than three years, Aeon, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, CommonBond Communities and Project for Pride in Living have joined forces (and data) to learn more about the relationship between criminal history and success in housing. This is a first-of-its-kind study, and we’re proud to finally announce the results of… Read More

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Sean

Late in 2016, Sean Reisman was searching for a volunteer opportunity. An attorney by day, Sean wanted a meaningful way to connect with his community, and his goal was two-fold: First, he needed an outlet outside of litigation work to dedicate some time and resources to. Second, he wanted that… Read More

News: Volunteers and Working for a Better St. Paul

CommonBond is proud to partner with Interfaith Action Coalition, who help connect our volunteer tutor opportunities with engaged members of faith communities in and around St. Paul.  Read an article by their president, Randi Roth, about their vision for a more compassionate greater St. Paul!… Read More

Building Community at Westminster Place

The youth at Westminster Place walk into the community room, excitedly chattering and laughing with each other. Without breaking stride, they head over to the space where the reading mats are folded and stacked neatly. Following some negotiations about who gets which mat, the kids greet the volunteer reader, lay… Read More

National Night Out at Granada Lakes Townhomes

This past August, the CommonBond team at Granada Lakes Townhomes hosted a lively National Night Out for their community, complete with a fire truck, face painting, and a raffle for prizes. “We had a great turn out, and the youth and adults really had fun,” said Jelanna LaFleur-Donaby, the Youth… Read More

News: Asylum seekers safe in Cedar Rapids

Asylum seekers safe in Cedar Rapids, Iowa after crossing 10 countries “The first night we slept here is the first day I felt at peace since we started our journey,” Mutonji said. “I feel like I can start to build my life again.” After a grueling, perilous journey, one family has… Read More

Dublin Crossing Brings Affordable Housing to Mankato

“It’s really about providing people who do good and necessary jobs in Mankato with a place they can afford to live in a good location.” With the development of the region outpacing housing, we’re excited to be part of the much-needed affordable options in the Mankato community! Learn more about… Read More

Eviction Prevention: It’s at the Heart of our Work

Evictions are challenging. And every eviction costs money to the resident as well as our entire community. We recently engaged Ernst & Young to study the impact of our Eviction Prevention services for residents. Better understanding this program—which is at the core of our Advantage Services model—helps us talk… Read More

Building Community Connections: Meet Officer Marks

For the past two summers, Officer Scott Marks has spent his Tuesday afternoons building bottle rockets, potting plants, and hanging out with kids in the summer program at CommonBond’s Crown Ridge community. Marks is the Community Engagement Officer for the City of Minnetonka Police Department, and feels that as part… Read More

Skyline Tower Teens Help Envision Midway Peace Park

The Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area is a national leader in accessible parks and open space. But for the residents of St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood, finding open, outdoor spaces has proven to be more of a challenge. Luckily, some youth residents at CommonBond’s Skyline Tower community have been heavily involved in… Read More

News: Affordable Housing Finance Magazine

We recently connected with Affordable Housing Finance to discuss the growing issue of a lack of Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (often referred to as NOAH), and how we are working to overcome this challenge in our communities. You can read more and link to the article directly here. For… Read More

Story: Exploring our Mark

After 10 weeks of developing their artistic skills through classes, the residents of Riverview Apartments showcased their work at “Exploring Our Mark,” an art exhibition hosted at the Schmidt Artist Lofts in St. Paul. The classes and exhibit were part of a partnership between CommonBond Communities and EngAGE, a nonprofit… Read More

Our Impact in 2017

We had a busy and exciting year in 2017. In partnership with residents, community partners, and donors, we helped change lives, improved homes, and expanded opportunities. Read our annual report for highlights!… Read More

Story: A Home to Heal and Grow

Finding stability in a CommonBond home means something different for every person that moves in. It might mean creating a stable base from which to reach other goals, or finding a community that supports and empowers. Perhaps it’s finally finding peace in a home that is comfortable and nicely maintained. Read More

Story: Coincidental Connection

Residents’ stories are at the heart of CommonBond’s work. Sometimes these stories involve huge milestones, like making a move toward homeownership. Others—like this one—are remarkable stories born from a seemingly ordinary experience while living in a CommonBond community. CommonBond is dedicated to providing residents with the resources they need to… Read More

Story: A Move Toward Homeownership

In 2011, Talise Owens-Hundley moved into Glenbrook Apartments as a single mother with two young girls. Talise was grateful for the help she was receiving, including rent assistance and food stamps, but knew she wanted more for both herself and her family. “I wanted to get off the system,” Talise… Read More

News: Gifted Storytellers

How CommonBond Elders Found Their Inner Creativity On a cold January evening, four senior residents from CommonBond’s Riverview Senior Housing in Minneapolis got up on a stage at Pillsbury House Theater to share personal life stories with a live audience. Some stories were warm and brief, some rhymed… Read More

Story: Community Matters

Vidalina Cruz and her sidekick, Snickers the Maltese, live at Franklin Meadows near Milwaukee, WI.  “Having a stable place to live makes me feel wonderful every day,” says Vida. “My home is like a coat that covers me up from the cold, it gives me comfort just like a winter… Read More

News: Building on Generosity

Existing Apartments Become CommonBond Communities In August 2016, CommonBond acquired its first unsubsidized property — 112 rental apartments and townhomes located just south of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area. Through its Housing Opportunity Fund, CommonBond Communities provides investors — specifically people who are interested in making a social impact —… Read More