A Budget that Values Affordable Housing

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A Budget that Values Affordable Housing

 

Communities across the Twin Cities region are struggling with rising rents, tight vacancy rates and high home prices – putting the squeeze on individual households and putting at risk our collective regional competitiveness. The Family Housing Fund recognizes that a single tool or approach alone will not solve these complex problems. We work with leaders and communities, using every tool possible to make quality, affordable housing accessible in every community.

In his first budget address, Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter yesterday proposed a substantial investment in housing production, preservation and protection. We commend the Mayor for making housing the centerpiece of his budget. His proposal includes a new Housing Trust Fund supported by a $10 million initial investment followed by ongoing annual investments in future years to support homeowners and renters alike. Specific components include:

  • New housing units for households at 30–50 % AMI (or $28,300 – $47,150 for a family of four)
  • Preservation of existing federally-assisted subsidized housing and naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH)
  • Expanded tenant protections to address the disparate impact of some tenant screening practices along with administrative tools to minimize tenant displacement in cases where housing quality is compromised

The July 2018 report Market Watch: Saint Paul, published by the Minnesota Housing Partnership, highlights trends impacting Saint Paul residents. The report noted that 59 percent of the almost 60,000 renter households in Saint Paul earn less than 60 percent AMI and yet their rents are steadily rising. These statistics were echoed in the stories that the Mayor heard from residents, who listed affordable housing as their highest budgetary priority for the city.

In his remarks last night, Mayor Carter explained that, “We have to think of the budget not as a numbers document, but as a values document.” His proposal for substantial housing investment shows that he hears his constituents and understands the real pain that many in the city are experiencing due to the lack of affordable housing. We stand ready to support him in making Saint Paul a city where all residents can thrive.