Project for Pride in Living

Project for Pride in Living (PPL) was founded in 1972 by Joe Selvaggio to create affordable housing for those in need. It began by renovating houses and now builds affordable housing for qualified individuals in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) area of Minnesota. Additionally, since its inception, PPL has offered employment training to the services it offers. Pursuant to its 2019 Annual Report, PPL served nearly 13,000 people, 84 percent of whom were Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and 90 percent of whom were people living in poverty. The results of the program’s work speak for themselves – 93 percent of individuals residing in PPL properties maintained housing for more than 24 months, 84 percent of training program graduates maintained their employment for over 12 months, and career training graduates experienced income growth by more than four times their original income.

PPL has almost 1,600 housing units and houses over 3,300 people every night in properties across the Twin Cities. PPL offers both affordable housing, for those making less than 60 percent of the area median income, and supportive housing, for individuals and families who have suffered homelessness, substance use disorder, disability, or who have a criminal background. In addition to providing housing, PPL offers its residents employment training, connections to physical and behavioral health resources, connections to their neighbors and the surrounding community, and helps provide the skills necessary to parents and their children to achieve success in school and at home. Seventy-six percent of households increased or maintained their income. Additionally, through its youth programs, 92 percent of participants increased their literacy skills.

PPL also assists individuals and families with buying a home through its Home Ready Financial Coaching program. Participants work with a financial coach and learn the process of getting ready to buy a home, including things like how to restore their credit, how to choose the right realtor, how to choose the right lender, and programs available for first-time homebuyers and other programs that might assist new buyers with the up-front costs of buying a home. Moreover, PPL offers home buying workshops (called “Home Stretch Workshops”) that teach individuals about the home buying process. PPL has partnered with Urban Homeworks to renovate properties and offer them for sale to low-income families.

As mentioned above, PPL does more than just provide housing for individuals who might otherwise be unable to afford or qualify for “traditional” housing. PPL also provides free employment training programs in everything from building operations technician to pharmacy technician, paraprofessional, and certified nursing assistant. Seventy-six percent of individuals who graduate from an employment training program are hired and retain their employment for more than one year. PPL also offers free workshops in everything from computer basics to coding tutorials and, through its Ready for Success program, provides professional clothing for men and women to help them succeed in job interviews and beyond.

What sets PPL apart from other organizations that provide housing and career training services is its commitment to increasing its cultural competency and its work in reducing the barriers faced by BIPOC in obtaining housing and employment. To help it meet these goals, PPL uses three staff-led committees – the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, the Public Policy Committee, and the Neighborhood Engagement Committee. Each of these committees works with the goal of addressing the inequities for BIPOC in “housing, economic development, education, and laws.”

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