Longfellow Community Council

Improve your home, improve the community


The Greater Longfellow Neighborhood is known for its charming bungalows and craftsman-style homes. These old homes are embedded into the character of our neighborhood, but as any property owner knows, there can be a lot of needed repairs, replacements and maintenance and they don’t come cheap.
Longfellow Community Council is helping homeowners with the burden of cost for home improvements. The LCC Home Improvement Rebate Program provides rebates of 80 percent of cost for home improvement projects up to $5,000. The program helps property owners with projects like additions or remodeling that add liveable square footage; interior and exterior painting; heating, cooling and ventilation equipment; foundation and structural improvements; certain landscaping projects; and replacing, repairing or installing new windows, water and sewer lines, garages, roofing, solar panels and more.
Troy, a property owner in Longfellow, had a furnace that was over 20 years old that "could go out at any time due to its age."
He said, “The cost of a new furnace was substantial and without the program, we would have been anxiously awaiting our furnace to fail before hoping for emergency assistance to help replace it. Once we heard about the program, we decided it was worth replacing our old furnace before the winter season. Not only did the program cover 80% of the cost of the new furnace, it helped provide peace of mind knowing our furnace wouldn't stop working on a bitter cold winter night.”
So often help is only available when we’re faced with a desperate situation or need, especially when cost is a burden or barrier, and we don’t want residents to have to wait until it gets to that point, especially as the list of home improvement projects can feel neverending. I can’t even look at the list that grows in my notes app some weeks.
The program also helps with environmental concerns that can plague our homes like radon gas. Radon is a serious public health concern in Minnesota. The average radon level in Minnesota is more than three times higher than the U.S. radon level, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. This is due to our geology and how our homes are operated. Minnesota homes are closed up or heated most of the year, which can result in higher levels of radon.
Nadya recently had her home tested for radon and found the levels were higher than they should be and persisted. After having her sewers replaced, Nadya was looking at another expensive project.
“Having big house bills for infrastructure in the basement isn’t fun. It’s not something that you see at all but it is really important for health,” Nayda said. “There is so much work that we need to have done that we see but this was for safety.”
Through the Home Improvement Rebate Program, Nadya was able to get a radon mitigation system, which sucks radon gas from under the foundation so it doesn’t get into the house. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.
The program covered 80 percent of the cost, and both Nadya and Troy said the reimbursement came quickly, quick enough that if you had to put the cost of the work on a credit card, you would have the reimbursement before the bill came due.
“I would encourage people to apply. The process was easy and I’m really grateful for the program,” Nadya said.
The program is open for residents making 80 percent of the Area Median Income and eligibility for reimbursement, accepted projects and applications can be found on our website, longfellow.org.
“The program is extremely helpful to our community. It provides assistance for income-qualifying households to make necessary improvements to their properties, and in turn, improves the quality of housing in our neighborhood. It's not just about individuals investing in their homes, but about investing in their quality of life, and in their community as a whole,” Troy said.
Investing in our collective quality of life and community is a main goal of the program, and was something the LCC board was cognizant of when working to get the program activated. So much of the work LCC does couldn’t be done without our volunteer board. Board members are community members, so they understand many of the needs of our community, which is instrumental in creating programs like the Home Improvement Rebate Program.
Board elections are coming up in April and we have several open seats on our board! Board members like Dana are proud to help LCC continue programs and projects and "facilitate authentic and meaningful conversations with community members, especially around topics like community safety and the future of the 3rd precinct; supporting community development through grants and the Home Improvement Program, creating spaces for people to connect."
“One of the things I love most about this community is the people and relationships that I have made with my neighbors. I’ve lived in three separate locations within the Hiawatha and Howe neighborhoods, and on every block I’ve lived on I’ve been touched by the deep sense of connection and care that neighbors have for one another. I truly believe that knowing our neighbors and being connected to one another is one of the ways to make our community more welcoming, safe, and peaceful for everyone. As a board member, I’ve been able to make more of those connections and it’s been a really neat experience to see all the different ways that LCC is making an impact as well,” Dana said.
If you’ve been wanting to get more involved with the neighborhood, become more immersed in the community, or be a part of implementing initiatives you want to see in Greater Longfellow, consider applying. Find applications on our website, or email andrea@longfellow.org for more information.


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