Building Innovation for Homeownership
Award Winners: Minnesota

PROJECT: Native American Initiative

SUBMITTER: Philip S. Dommer, Miles Homes International, Minneapolis, Minnesota

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Native American Initiative is just one of a number of programs established by Miles Homes to serve the affordable housing market. This housing manufacturer developed a program to work with tribal governments to provide first-time homeownership opportunities on tribal land. So far, 85 homes have been built in Minnesota and Michigan. Miles manufactures and packages panelized and pre-cut house packages that include name-brand fixtures and equipment. Miles uses its large-scale operation to get the best price on materials bought in bulk and passes the savings on to the homebuyer. In the case of the Native American Initiative, additional standardization of materials and products resulted in up to 10% additional savings on some items such as cabinets, windows, and floor covering. The additional savings was donated to the tribes in the form of additional building packages. In Michigan, for example, this resulted in three-bedroom houses offered for $66,946, compared to $109,348 estimated by HUD for local total development costs. In Minnesota, two-bedroom houses were offered for $73,785 compared to HUD�s TDC of $113,547. The panelized and precut house packages are delivered on-site by Miles, which assists the tribal governments in managing the projects. The kit homes also present the opportunity for construction job creation on the reservation, where low and semi-skilled workers can begin to learn a trade.

PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: Miles Homes International, Inc., Minneapolis, MN, Community Based Housing Division, Philip S. Dommer, Director, William A. Keim, regional representative, Terry Taylor, purchasing manager (housing manufacturer); Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, Minnesota, Marge Anderson, Chief Executive of the Mille Lacs Band, Raymond Kegg, Executive Director of Housing Authority, Eugene Bahr, construction specialist; Sault Saint Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Michigan, George Nolan, Housing Commission Chairperson and Tribal Vice-Chair, Jolene Nertoli, Housing Division Director, Russ McKerchie, construction manager, Bruce LaPointe, assistant construction and project manager; Perry Bolin, Earthstar Project, Inc., and the Phillip Stephan Companies, consultants.


PROJECT: Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity Infill Housing, Minneapolis and St. Paul

SUBMITTER: Miles Homes International, Minneapolis, Minnesota

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The 14 homes built on scattered infill sites throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area were from a plan book developed by Miles Homes for use by nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity. The 64 Super Affordable Building Material Packages & Home Plans book contains a wide variety of home plans and sizes. Two of the homes constructed were designed for people with physical disabilities. All 14 homes were constructed for under $40,000 on land that was distressed property. Miles developed the plan book for use specifically by nonprofits, who would benefit from Miles� precut and panelized home packages, which are delivered to the site for erection. Miles� management of the materials packages up until the time of construction is a boon for nonprofits that must run projects on shoestring budgets and small staffs. Miles can offer the packages at significant savings through bulk purchase of materials and equipment. Miles offers this plan-book program to nonprofits around the country, meeting their particular needs in providing affordable housing.

PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: Miles Homes International, Inc., Philip Dommer (community based housing director), Kim Flesner (administrative assistant), Herbert Getzler (president, board member, executive advisor); Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, Stephen Seidel (executive director); Homestyles Publishing and Marketing, Jeff Heegaard (president), Pamela Robertson (editorial); Habitat for Humanity International, Inc., Peter Dalva (architect), Jane Emerson (corporate relations), Frank Purvis (environmental director). Lifestyles Design Services, Mark Englund (managing partner and illustrator); Margaret Griffith (project coordination and design); Perry Bohlin, architect; Danner Press; Mike Kohlrusch, illustrator; The Philip Stephen Companies, Inc.; Richard Scales Advertising; Rick Thompson, architect.


Content Archived: January 20, 2009