Historic Stevens Square Building to be Transformed into Supportive Housing Community for People in Need

June 04, 2015
  • UnitedHealth Group provides $1.9 million in equity for the $3.38 million acquisition and rehabilitation project
  • 19-unit affordable housing community with support services will be renamed The Lonoke upon completion in the fall

Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative has begun a $3.38 million renovation of an historic Stevens Square apartment building, transforming the 100-year-old property into a new 19-unit affordable-housing community with support services for area homeless and people in need of permanent housing.

Rehabilitation of the building, to be renamed The Lonoke, located at 1926 Third Avenue South in Minneapolis, includes renovating the 19 existing one-bedroom apartments with upgraded mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, new kitchens and baths, common-area upgrades and improvements, new roofing and other exterior components. 

Funding for the project is being provided with the support of many community partners through tax credit financing, state and local housing funds and private contributions from individuals, congregations and foundations. 

Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), the largest investor in the project, provided $1.9 million in equity through Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) through a partnership with the Minnesota Equity Fund (MEF). The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) approved the use of the tax credits and is providing a $645,445 loan. Additional funding includes a $423,523 loan from the City of Minneapolis, a $225,000 loan and $64,000 grant from Hennepin County, and $75,000 from Plymouth Congregational Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church. Construction financing was secured through the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund.

“The Lonoke renovation is the result of a fruitful collaboration with Westminster and Plymouth churches along with UnitedHealth Group and government funders who believe in the power of home to transform lives and communities,” said Lee Blons, Beacon’s executive director. “We’re grateful that our funders trust Beacon’s capacity to continue to create well-managed, high-quality affordable housing that not only benefits individuals but serves as a stabilizing presence in neighborhoods.”

The $1.9 million investment by UnitedHealth Group in collaboration with MEF is part of more than $250 million the company has provided since 2011 to finance affordable-housing communities with supportive services throughout the United States. The company has invested $50 million through MEF to fund affordable-housing communities throughout Minnesota and the Great Lakes region.

“UnitedHealth Group is honored to be among the many partners investing in this important community development,” said Tom McGlinch, vice president, investment management, UnitedHealth Group. “When completed later this year, The Lonoke will provide the kind of care and support that is critical in helping to lift people out of homelessness and live healthier lives.”

“MEF provides a vehicle for socially motivated corporations like UnitedHealth Group to make economic investments in well-designed, high-quality affordable-housing developments in growing communities throughout Minnesota,” said Warren Hanson, president and CEO of MEF. “Our partnership in this rehabilitation project will help meet the critical need to provide at-risk individuals with quality, permanent housing with supportive services.”

Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative is the developer, with Frerichs Construction carrying out building renovations. CommonBond will provide property management services once the construction phase is complete. 

When completed in the fall, the property will be officially renamed The Lonoke. It will include 10 apartments that will offer supportive services for people who have experienced long-term homelessness, and nine general-occupancy apartments for tenants earning 30 percent to 50 percent of area median income.  Supportive services for residents will be provided by Spectrum Community Mental Health and Simpson Housing.

Beacon purchased the Stevens Square apartment building in 2005 along with its companion building, The Nokoma, which has since been renovated and all units sold as part of an affordable-housing cooperative.

About Beacon:
Beacon is an interfaith collaborative of congregations committed to ending homelessness through housing development, shelter and advocacy. For more information visit www.beaconinterfaith.org or follow @BelieveInHome.

About The Minnesota Equity Fund:
MEF is a subsidiary of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF), a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution, established by The McKnight Foundation and Blandin Foundation. GMHF provides loans, equity investments, grants and technical assistance to create affordable housing in Minn. MEF’s initial fund is a strategic partnership between GMHF and Great Lakes Capital Fund (GLCF), a nationally recognized syndicator of low-income housing tax credits with $2.5 billion under management and expertise in affordable housing.

About UnitedHealth Group: 
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making health care work better. UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at www.unitedhealthgroup.com or follow @UnitedHealthGrp on Twitter.

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