30+ Years of Growth and Change

The Family Housing Fund was created through the vision and financial support of The McKnight Foundation, under the leadership of Director Russ Ewald, and by the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Its mission was to address affordable housing issues in the two cities and act as a housing intermediary, bringing together people, money, and expertise to support the delivery of affordable housing. Responding to a growing need for affordable housing in suburban communities, the Fund formally expanded its mission in 1997 to serve the entire seven-county Twin Cities metro area (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties). Hence, the Family Housing Fund supports the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (Minnesota Housing), Metropolitan Council, and Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Over the past 30+ years, the Family Housing Fund has grown and adapted to meet the housing needs of families in the Twin Cities.

Timeline of Key Events

  • 1980

    • The Family Housing Fund is incorporated with the support of the Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and $17 million in grant and PRI from The McKnight Foundation.        • The Fund’s Board approves its first deferred loan to support the development of affordable rental housing for low-income families.
  • 1981

    • The Fund’s Board approves Phase 1 of the Home Ownership program, which features a $120 million joint revenue bond sale and the provision of assistance for lower-income families in the form of loans and grants.
  • 1983

    • Family Housing Fund votes to establish the Twin Cities Housing Development Corporation, TCHDC.
  • 1985

    • The Board votes to extend its activities to include supportive housing for the homeless, adopts a More Than Shelter plan, based on a continuum of care.
  • 1987

    • The Board votes to invite the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to establish a Twin Cities program and provides an initial $325,000 grant.
  • 1990

    • The Fund Board approves a loan to Parkside Townhomes in Burnsville. This marks the Fund’s first loan to a project outside of Minneapolis and St. Paul.        • In partnership with the Saint Paul Public Housing Agency, the Fund supported creation of the Home Ownership Made Easy (HOME) Program, which provides education, counseling, and financial assistance to families living in public housing or receiving Section 8 assistance so they can become homeowners.
  • 1991

    • Family Housing Fund establishes the Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program in partnership with the Northside Residents Redevelopment Council and the St. Paul Housing Information Office.
  • 1992

    • The Family Housing Fund Board votes to support the establishment of the Home Ownership Center to provide services to help low-income families become successful homeowners and provides a $160,000 grant.        • The Board votes to invite the Corporation for Supportive Housing to establish a Twin Cities program and provides an initial $100,000 grant.
  • 1993

    • The Fund convenes the first meeting of the Interagency Stabilization Group to address issues related to the performance of existing subsidized projects. The Family Housing Fund continues to chair this group today.
  • 1996

    • The Board approves its first Public Information/Communications Plan.
  • 1997

    • The Family Housing Fund formally amends its articles and by-laws to extend its service area to include not only the two central cities but also the entire seven-county metropolitan area.         • The Fund becomes a supporting organization of the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.
  • 1998

    • The Fund convenes the first meeting of an interagency group to help the Minneapolis Public Housing Agency implement a portion of the Hollman settlement that calls for the development of 590 public housing units in the suburbs.
  • 1999

    • The Family Housing Fund convenes the Supportive Housing Provider Group to participate in the development of “Supportive Housing for Families with Children”, a multi-part study which drives home the devastating effects of homelessness on children and offers supportive housing as a solid, cost-effective response.
  • 2000

    • Hennepin County created the Affordable Housing Incentive Fund to support affordable housing development with a special 1:2 matching grant of $2 million from the Family Housing Fund. This was very significant as it was the first time that a County government appropriated significant resources for the capital funding of affordable housing and spurred other counties to act as well.        • The Fund commissioned “Home Sweet Home: An Affordable Housing Art Exhibit” in order to celebrate its 20th Anniversary and to increase public awareness of the need for affordable housing in the Twin Cities.
  • 2001

    • Ramsey County created the Ramsey County Endowment Fund with a special 1:2 matching grant of $2 million from the Family Housing Fund to support affordable housing development in Ramsey County.
  • 2002

    • Dakota County created the Housing Opportunities Endowment (HOPE) Fund with a special 1:2 matching grant of $2 million from the Family Housing Fund to support affordable housing development in Dakota County.        • The Family Housing Fund, together with Twin Cities LISC and CSH, officially launched the Changing the Face of Housing in Minnesota initiative to increase the participation of communities of color at all levels of housing production, planning, management, policy, and decision-making.
  • 2003

    • Hennepin County created the Supportive Housing Incentive Fund (SHIF) to support the service funding needs of supportive housing projects for individuals and families with a matching grant of $500,000 from the Family Housing Fund.        • Family Housing Fund, jointly with the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, received the Nonprofit Mission Award for Responsive Philanthropy from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
  • 2005

    • In order to kick off its 25th Anniversary and bring greater attention and support for affordable housing, the Fund sponsored “Home Sweet Home Again: An Exhibition of Art and Poetry.”        • The Family Housing Fund launches Minnesota Green Communities, a collaboration with the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and Enterprise Community Partners, to foster the creation of affordable, healthier, and more energy-efficient housing throughout Minnesota.
  • 2007

    • The Family Housing Fund launches the Home Prosperity Fund with investments from The McKnight Foundation, Minnesota Housing, Pohlad Foundation, TCF Bank, Thrivent Foundation, US Bank, and Wells Fargo as an innovative tool to combat the rising number of foreclosures through the acquisition, rehabilitation, and resale of homes to low- and moderate-income families.
  • 2009

    • The Family Housing Fund forms the Twin Cities Community Land Bank as an innovative tool to help spur land acquisition and site control to meet the changing housing needs in Twin Cities’ neighborhoods and communities now and in the future.        • The MacArthur Foundation funds the creation of the Minnesota Preservation Plus Initiative (MPPI) through the Family Housing Fund, with strategic partners the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and Minnesota Housing to provide leadership and funding to change the way affordable rental housing preservation is approached, addressed and financed.
  • 2011

    • The Family Housing Fund joined with private, nonprofit, and public partners on the Twin Cities Corridors of Opportunity Initiative (funded by Living Cities Integration Initiative and HUD Sustainable Communities program) to promote equitable transit oriented development.
  • 2013

    • The Family Housing Fund is a founding member of the Prospect North Partnership, which seeks to demonstrate a new model of district development, innovation, urban growth, and healthy living in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis.