I had an interesting conversation the other day with someone who said she'd love to live in Minneapolis or Saint Paul, but feared the prospects of having to do repairs to an older home. I figured that in an area like ours, there would be lots of places to turn for learning how to tackle some common home improvement/repair issues. Here's what I found:
Both Saint Paul and Minneapolis have Community Education courses focused on Home Improvement. You can take classes in "sanding your own floors," "window restoration," "electrical wiring," "plaster and sheetrock repair," among many others.
Depending on where you live and the income you make, there are also city and non-profit programs to help offset the cost of some improvements (e.g. lead paint removal, energy updates, etc.) Both Minneapolis and St. Paul have "City Living Home Programs" that offer home repair loans and mortgage assistance. There's also a list of some different programs here and I'm familiar with the work that Sparc does in Hamline Midway, the North End and East Como.
If home improvement still scares you, the city of Minneapolis has the Home Ownership Works program where you can move into a home that the city has remodeled to bring up to code.
So don't fear the old house--there are lots of resources available to you!