About MCASA Homes

The MCASA Homes program, a partnership between Model Cities Community Development Corporation and Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation, provides affordable homeownership opportunities to low and moderate income families. Established in 2004, the MCASA program was designed to address homeownership disparities between white households, and households of color. The US Census Bureau found that homeownership rates for White households are 20-30 percent higher than those rates for households of color.

MCASA Homes are available for purchase under a number of scenarios. For those who are already qualified for purchase, some homes will be available for purchase through a conventional sale model. In addition, MCASA offers lease-to-purchase and contract-for-deed options. These models are designed to allow time for the purchaser to work towards qualifying for a conventional mortgage by actively working on resolving credit and debt issues that have impeded their ability to purchase a home. In both the lease-to-purchase and contract-for-deed options, participants are offered one-on-one counseling and training with a certified Pre-purchase Counselor and a Homestretch Educator. Other services offered through the MCASA program include basic home management and home maintenance.

In 2006, three vacant parcels were purchased from the City of Saint Paul to construct three single family homes.  In 2007, three lots were donated by ASANDC to construct three additional homes.  These six homes were immediately occupied by families that met the eligibility criteria. The MCASA program is not only an attempt to provide affordable homeownership opportunities to low and moderate income families, but also to address problems associated with vacant and foreclosed properties. The Summit-University and Thomas-Dale neighborhoods of St. Paul have been disproportionately impacted by the foreclosure crisis, with many streets riddled with a vacant and boarded up single family homes.

During 2009 and 2010, MCASA acquired 10 vacant and foreclosed properties in an attempt to help alleviate this issue. These properties have been substantially rehabilitated and offered for sale through our program. In general, each home received a new roof, new exterior siding, new energy efficient windows, completely new kitchens and bathrooms, new plumbing and electrical systems, new heating and air conditioning systems, and refinished or new flooring throughout.

Moving forward, MCASA plans to continue these activities and acquire additional houses within the Summit-University and Thomas Dale neighborhoods of St. Paul. These efforts will continue MCASA’s mission to provide quality, affordable homeownership opportunities to low and moderate income families.

MCASA Homes is funded with foundation and public funds, which provide gap financing so families earning 80% of the area median income, can purchase the homes at an affordable price.


There a number of criteria one must meet to apply to the MCASA program:

  • You must be a first time home buyer;
  • You must have completed, or agree to complete, Home Stretch, home ownership training classes;
  • You must have an annual household income of not more than 80 percent of the area median income (in 2011, for a family of 4, the Area Median Income is $64,200).
  • You must have been employed continuously for at least 24 months;
  • You must be willing to enter into a lease-to-purchase agreement or Contract-for-Deed and be able to purchase the title from MCASA within 6 to 24 months;
  • You must be actively working towards resolving credit and debt issues that may have impeded your ability to qualify for a mortgage; and
  • You must be committed to working with a homeownership counselor.

Construction Management

Model Cities is working in partnership with the City of St. Paul to address the destructive effects of the crash of the housing market and subsequent foreclosure crisis that has seriously affected neighborhoods throughout the city in the past couple of years. Through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (a part of the U.S. Congress’s Economic Stimulus legislation), the City of St. Paul has acquired a multitude of vacant and foreclosed properties.

The City has, along with a number of other nonprofit CDC’s, contracted with Model Cities to provide construction management services for the rehabilitation of these properties. These activities include preliminary evaluation of potential properties for acquisition, preliminary cost estimates for their rehabilitation, complete scopes of work for each property, coordination of the bidding process and selection of general contractors, facilitating compliance with the City’s Vendor Outreach, Section 3, and Affirmative Action policies, and general construction management supervision of the rehabilitation process.

MCASA Homes application forms:

MCASA Application to Purchase Home

Co-Applicant Form

Forms can be returned electronically to dcooney@modelcities.org.

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