Meet Arla! Most recent recipient of CANDO's Housing Grant and Loan Program
CANDO Housing Funding Meets the Needs of Our Community
By Sam, CANDO Housing Organizer
In January of 2019, longtime Central resident Arla Landon contacted the CANDO office to ask about resources to fix a leak in her bathroom. Arla had been active with the neighborhood organization when it was called Central Neighborhood Improvement Association (CNIA) before CANDO formed. She remembered that there might be funding available for emergency repairs such as hers.
Her timing was great! In 2018, CANDO finalized a contract with Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) to administer loans and grants to homeowners, including potential homeowners. We understand the need of community members to have safe, secure affordable housing in the midst of a housing shortage and we endeavor to help renters and homeowners remain in their homes. Upon reviewing our first applications for loans and grants, we discovered we needed to adjust our guidelines to lower barriers so more people may access the funding. Anyone who wants may fill out an application with CEE for a property in Central Neighborhood (more details below).
I visited Arla to bring her the paper application for the emergency grant and during the visit, I learned about Arla’s family history in the neighborhood, we talked about elder housing possibilities at Sabathani, and I learned that we were both former Hennepin County AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) union members! I was able to offer some assistance in filling out CANDO & CEE housing programs paperwork and then submit it to the lending processing department at CEE.
CEE quickly followed up with Arla to let her know that they would be processing her application. Arla began contacting contractors for repair bids. Only a few days later, I received another call from Arla after one of the contractors alerted her about a concern with her furnace. We kept in contact about it, and then, during the coldest week of winter, the situation with the furnace went from bad to worse and it completely went out.
CANDO kicked into overdrive! After contacting several other community resources, we reviewed the programs Arla was eligible for with her CEE application. Due to the high cost to replace her old gravity or “octopus” furnace, Arla needed to apply for both the emergency grant and a repair loan.
In the meantime, other friends from Arla’s faith community and neighborhood pitched in to get a temporary solution to get Arla heat in her home during the polar vortex. CANDO & CEE staff worked to expedite the application process and, after more than two weeks without a functioning furnace, Arla was able to get her repairs done. She now has a loan to pay for the majority of the furnace replacement, but didn’t need to go to a bank for financing.
Arla told us, “I couldn't have done it without you guys. I’m blessed with all the help I received from my community and CANDO!”
If you would like more information about the CEE CANDO housing programs or want to apply, go to this link: mncee.org/services/financing/residential. You can also contact 612.335.5884 or firstname.lastname@example.org.