At Real Estate Equities we believe that community development and responsible real estate ownership go hand in hand. Helping to build a sense of community in the cities and neighborhoods that we manage in is an important part of what we do, who we are, and how we grow. Our site staff feel connected to our residents and share a sense of responsibility to enhance the quality of the residents’ life though community sponsored activities and events. The innovative ideas, programs and senior care services that we have developed and implemented over the years have added to not only the enjoyment of living at our communities, but the educational growth, early childhood development, transportation and health and wellness needs of our residents.
Below is a list of the charities and programs Real Estate Equities is currently involved in to actively support and grow our communities. We develop and implement the appropriate programs based on the community’s needs and which ones we feel residents at that specific community will benefit from.
On-site Family Support Services
Founded in 1998, Opportunity Neighborhood promotes safe and supportive housing by providing family support services onsite at affordable housing communities throughout the Twin Cities metro. The agency’s mission is to support people and strengthen neighborhoods within affordable housing communities, through cooperative partnerships. At each supportive housing community Opportunity Neighborhood serves, they aims to meet 3 goals: 1) Increase community safety, 2) Increase housing stability, and 3) Increase opportunities for family success. These goals are accomplished by working with residents to identify programs and services that meet their community’s needs. Programs are then developed through partnerships with local schools, law enforcement and community organizations. Research, best practice data and experience have revealed safe and supportive affordable housing communities are more likely to thrive when 6 components are present: early childhood education, out-of-school time/youth intervention, safety initiatives, information and referral, community events and special initiatives. Some of the programs available at REE’s communities include: early childhood education classes, after-school programs and summer camps for youth and community building events (National Night Out, community dinners, crafts and games). Visit their website at www.opportunityneighborhood.org.
Senior Support Services
One exciting example of how Real Estate Equities supports our senior residents is our active partnership with Cerenity Senior Care to bring a broad variety of social and health services to the residents of the Rarig Senior Campus in St. Paul where Real Estate Equities owns and/or manages senior housing located on the shared campus. This senior campus, built in the 70’s by the Wilder Foundation, currently provides a full continuum of care to its senior residents; ranging from Independent senior apartments (without services) to Senior Affordable (Section 8) Assisted Living, Transitional Care, Memory Care and Skilled Nursing. The partnership integrates health and wellness services and amenities both on the campus and off the campus through outreach with local communities. One recent example of Real Estate Equities involvement in these programs includes raising money (from both owners, residents and families) to acquire a new 20-seat bus to serve the transportation needs of the seniors on campus. This comprehensive service offering provides seniors a broad array of community, food-service, wellness, social services and therapeutic benefits to the campus residents.
Live Together Play Together Community Program
Unique to REE, this is a program where property managers work with residents and event coordinators to create a monthly calendar of activities that is jam packed with fun and engaging things to do for kids, adults, families, and seniors. Since Live Together Play Together kicked off in the spring of 2004, the program has offered an amazing variety of activities to residents. A small sample of these fun activities includes: karate, yoga, water aerobics, poker night, movie night, book club, morning café with coffee and donuts, turkey bingo, garage sale, fishing in the pond, camping, snowman building contests, and much more. All of these events are free of charge to residents and are created and run by residents. The program is customized to best serve the interests and needs of each community. Depending on the type of event, the average attendance is around 30% of the community, with more total people in attendance as residents are invited to bring family and friends to the events.
The goal of Live Together Play Together is to create a dynamic and fun place to live where residents can get to know their neighbors and build a stronger sense of ownership and community at their home. This program was developed because we were excited by the possibility of creating something new that took advantage of the talents and interests of the entire apartment community and made the community a unique place to call home.
Since its inception, we have had a tremendous, positive response from both residents and staff who feel a sense of pride and feel more connected to the community. Residents see that we are investing in them and the community, which has led to increased resident referrals and retention.
Random Acts of Kindness
This program has been implemented at all of our communities as well as the corporate office. It was developed to create an atmosphere of respect and kindness not just from the staff, but the residents and vendors that are on the property every day. Anyone can nominate another person or be nominated for Random Acts of Kindness. There are (12) $50 winners chosen each quarter.
Working with local food banks such as Second Harvest Heartland, many communities participate in an annual food drive where residents are encouraged to drop off non-perishable food items with their rent checks. At some communities, we even hold drawings to reward those that donate. This can be challenging for some residents at our lower income communities, but they too want that rewarding feeling of helping those in need and this is a low cost, reachable way for them to give back.
Every year during the holiday season, select communities hold a Toys for Tots campaign to help out those in need. Residents are encouraged to give what they can to help local families enjoy the holidays. We understand that many families living in our communities also need this assistance during the holidays so we are exploring other organizations and opportunities where residents can come to us in confidence if they need assistance providing toys for their children during the holiday season.
Back-to-School Supply Drives
Real Estate Equities holds a Back-to-School Supply Drive annually, where employees are encouraged to donate new and unused school supply items that are then given to a local organization to help fulfill specific requests from schools and organizations. We believe in children receiving the education they deserve, regardless of their situation. REE has also partnered with homeless shelters such as People Serving People for a book drive, blanket drive and has participated in the annual MHA event fundraiser to support PSP.
From time to time Real Estate Equities holds a gently used clothing drive to donate to a local Shelter or the Salvation Army. Both employees and residents are encouraged to donate any clothing items in good condition to pass along to those in need. Again, this is a very feasible activity for low income families to participate in as they or their children may have outgrown clothing that another family can use.