When families pay more than they can afford for housing, they’re forced to make impossible choices: Rent or medications? Rent or education? Rent or groceries? An alarming number of families in Minneapolis must make these tradeoffs month after month to keep roofs over their heads, making it impossible for them to get ahead.
I firmly believe that all families deserve equal access to the basics. Safe, affordable housing is the foundation upon which people — and communities — thrive. That’s why I spent the 2017 legislative session advocating with my team at the Minnesota Housing Partnership for significant state and local investments in housing and for proactive, progressive housing policy.
Over and over this session, legislators put key resources for affordable housing development on the chopping block. At one point, legislators threatened to cut millions of dollars from the Challenge Fund, a critical program that develops affordable housing for Minnesota’s working families. Legislators also held back on providing new investments for housing in a bonding bill.
My team and I, along with a coalition of housing advocates across the state, fought hard to protect and grow resources for housing — with success. We secured full funding for the Challenge program and $77 million in bonds for the development and preservation of affordable housing in Minnesota.
With broad, bipartisan support, I spearheaded a successful effort to enact legislation that enables cities, counties, and regions to create local trust funds for housing development. Cities across Minnesota need a flexible, locally-controlled tool to create affordable housing. Local housing trust funds are a practical, sustainable solution cities can utilize to meet their most pressing housing needs. By building a broad coalition of support, from community development leaders and legislators to city officials and industry representatives, my team and I worked hard to make this tool available to Minnesota communities of all sizes.
Minneapolis is one of two cities in Minnesota that has already pioneered an Affordable Housing Trust Fund — with proven results. The fund leverages $9 for every dollar invested and has expanded the city tax base by $800 million dollars. It will play an important role in addressing the pressing need for affordable housing in our city.
As part of the City Council, I promise to fight to grow investment in smart, effective programs, like the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, that preserve and create affordable housing. For a strong city, we need diverse housing stock that families at all income levels can call home. This means protecting the affordable housing we have by investing in initiatives like Hennepin County’s multimillion dollar fund created to protect naturally occurring affordable housing, and changing zoning laws to allow for mixed income and higher density development in our communities.
Read more on Jeremy’s vision for housing in Minneapolis here.