Marsden and Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties have now entered into a partnership with Marsden’s Charitable Giving Community Fund, which shares Community Action’s mission, vision, and values. The partnership was brought to life by Jenew Xiong, Employment Specialist of Community Action and Joy Nguyen, Community Engagement and Outreach Manager of Marsden. Xiong and Nguyen met in the Spring of 2023 and started a conversation regarding employment referrals. In regards to Employment Opportunities, “Marsden stood out from the rest”, claims Xiong.
The need for these funds was brought about by the Community Needs Assessment CAPRW commissions every three years to identify areas of distress for program participants and other low-income residents of Ramsey and Washington counties. Per our most recent survey, 38% of respondents said “Housing” is the thing that would meet the needs of their households. Home acquisition is often a long, difficult process; however, in response, for the past five years CAPRW has worked to increase the number of affordable housing units in our service area with a focus on the purchase and rehabilitation of older housing stock that can be renovated into small multi-family rental units.
In 2022, CAPRW secured funding for an eight-unit multi-family home through Washington County’s CHDO. As with all other CAPRW houses, this property is in a scatter sight location with high quality schools, convenient transportation, and access to livable wage jobs. We currently own or manage seven houses. Because of federal and state grant stipulations, CAPRW has been unable to repair a three-bedroom home in Little Canada, MN (Ramsey County) which was occupied at the time of purchase.
The renters of this 1950’s home are a family of seven- a female veteran with PTSD, her spouse and five children all under the age of 9. This family is responsive, pays rent in a timely manner, and has no lease violations. When there are property maintenance issues, management is notified promptly and can easily schedule repairs. Due to deferred maintenance on this home, updates could cost up to $150,000.
Because of the partnership and $15,000 donation from the Marsden’s Charitable Giving Community Fund, we will be able to update the family’s kitchen. Specifically, we will replace cabinets and countertops ($8,000). Install new floors ($4,400) and replace the oven ($600). We will set aside $2,000 for contingencies and will work with other local partners to secure additional newer appliances for the space.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Marsden CEO, Guy Mingo, he spoke of how this contribution hits close to home. Mingo, who grew up on welfare, started out at Marsden working part-time, but knew that management was in his future. Mingo was given the opportunity to manage the Radisson Merchandise Mart, working in Operations until being given minority partnership in 1995, becoming president in and CEO in 2002. At the end of the day, his work has become full circle, working on and with organizations that he used as a child, stating, “Everyone deserves an opportunity”.