For Excellence in Community Service
Michael J. Bjerkesett founded the National Handicap Housing Institute in 1975 for the express purpose of improving the independent lifestyles of persons with physical disabilities, specifically mobility impairments. During a long career as a champion for the disability community, Michael J. Bjerkesett has worked to improve the lives of others.
In his first full-time job, Michael counseled clients in the rehabilitation program at North Memorial Medical Center. In 1973 he left North Memorial to form the United Handicap Federation, a social action organization which linked together 19 disability groups in Minnesota. He served as its first executive director.
Michael has received several awards for his work including the Distinguished Alumni Award from Southwest Minnesota State University, the Courage Award from Courage Center, and the WCCO Good Neighbor award, among others.
Accessible housing needs are his life’s calling and his lasting legacy Countless people with disabilities have Michael Bjerkesett to thank for providing affordable, accessible housing options.
We are seeking nominations!
In honor of Michael’s commitment to serving the community, The Michael J. Bjerkesett Award is given to a resident for their involvement and giving back to the community through volunteering, supporting, improving, giving, or other means.
If you are someone or you know of someone who gives back to the community, please take the time to nominate yourself or them below. Nominations are open.