Minneapolis Affordable Housing Practices Heading in a New Direction

Minneapolis is realigning its affordable housing practices as the nationwide as the pressures of the housing affordability crisis increase.
April 21, 2019, 5am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Iris van den Broek

"The Minneapolis City Council is trying to assert more control of the city’s public housing authority in response to the agency’s plans to change the ownership structure of its housing and privatize some of its oldest units," reports Jessica Lee.

The City Council is considering a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that calls on the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) to "disclose when it makes new property deals that could force residents to move into new homes, either temporarily or permanently."

The City Council considers the MOU to be a necessary measure for protecting existing affordable housing in the city.

Adding context is a proposal by the MPHA to privatize the Elliot Twins high-rise buildings in downtown Minneapolis. "The authority argues it needs to attract private investors to help pay for necessary repairs to the buildings, including new windows and roofs," reports Lee. "Through a federal program called Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), private developers would receive tax credits in exchange for paying for the renovations. After 15 years (or in some cases, sooner), full ownership of the buildings will revert to MPHA…"

"In addition to Elliot Twins, MPHA is preparing to change ownership of its entire stock of single-family homes — totaling some 650 units — to free up more federal funding for repairs and renovations. Control of the houses will be under a nonprofit the authority runs," adds Lee.

The MPHA claims these changes are necessary to ensure its long-term fiscal sustainability.

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