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For Preserving Affordability, 4d is a Win-Win

When a friend called Beth Barron last year and asked if she’d like to save $6,000 on her property tax bill, she signed up right away to become one of the first participants in the City of Minneapolis’s new “4d” Affordability Housing Incentive Program.

Even after 25 years as the owner and manager of an 11-unit apartment building near Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis, Beth never thought of herself as a landlord. Together with the residents of her building, she is creating a community. She keeps her building in good repair but hasn’t added any luxury touches, preferring to keep rents reasonable and her residents stable. As a result, the building is an example of what’s commonly known as “naturally-occurring affordable housing,” offering moderate rents without any government assistance.

Beth believes that the 4d program is a win-win for rental property owners willing to try something new. The savings on her tax bill have come through as promised. Even better, she has been working with the City’s program partners to assess energy efficiency in her building, and may qualify for rebates and incentives that will pay for the majority of the cost of a new highly-efficient boiler and water heater.

In return for the reduction in her tax bill, Beth committed to keeping rents reasonable (no more than $1062 for a one-bedroom unit in 2019), which was already her plan, and to rent future available units to residents whose income does not exceed 60% of the Area Median Income (currently $45,300 for a household of two), over the next ten years.

The City of Minneapolis is accepting new applications for the 4d program through February 12, 2019; visit the program website to learn more. http://www.minneapolismn.gov/cped/housing/WCMSP-214366

FHFund has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions from potential participants in the program—download the latest FAQ here: http://www.fhfund.org/4d-faq/

This 11-unit building near Lake of the Isles, built in 1962, is one of the first to benefit from the City of Minneapolis’s 4d Affordable Housing Incentive Program.

Leading on Housing

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey campaigned on a promise to address the city’s affordable housing crisis. In May, he announced an ambitious plan to deliver on his campaign promise and yesterday, we saw his plan take shape in his first proposed budget for 2019.

We commend the Mayor for his leadership to dramatically increase funding for affordable housing. His proposed 2019 budget recognizes that we need many tools in our toolbox to combat the housing challenges that many of our city’s residents experience. Mayor Frey’s specific commitments include $40 million of City funds – combined with an additional $10 million of state and federal funds – directed toward affordable housing. This includes:

  • 21.6 million towards the Affordable Housing Trust Fund
  • 3.4 million towards Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing Preservation
  • 5 million towards affordable homeownership on City owned lots
  • 3.3 million towards Stable Homes, Stable Schools, a collaboration with Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis Public Housing and Hennepin county to stabilize kids and their families

In his remarks, Mayor Frey said, “The reality is that we can’t put affordable housing investments off til tomorrow because tomorrow is too late.” We couldn’t agree more.

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.

Housing Counts 2016 Data Released

Since 2002, the Family Housing Fund and HousingLink have published the Housing Counts data set to provide housing leaders and other stakeholders an accurate and consistent way of tracking affordable housing (rental and homeownership) production and preservation each year in the seven-county Twin Cities region, including Minneapolis, St. Paul, and suburban metropolitan communities.

Since its inception, Housing Counts has tracked investment in projects representing more than 30,000 units of affordable housing throughout the seven-county region. In 2016, a grand total of 2,898 units of housing were funded for new development or preservation.

View the Housing Counts 2016 Report Here

Notes on the data:

  • The list of projects identifies how many affordable units are planned/preserved at three levels of affordability—30 percent, 50 percent, and 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). This corresponds with affordability restrictions required by certain funding streams.
  • The data set counts units in the year their project financing first closes and includes only developments with public and/or private capital funding that includes affordability obligations.
  • The report tables divide the projects into three main categories: new production of rental units, new production of homeownership units, and preservation/stabilization of existing rental units.
  • Rental assistance to renters, financial assistance directly to home buyers, and shelter beds are not included in this data set.
  • Developments that are designed specifically to serve seniors are indicated with an asterisk in the reports.
  • Properties included on the preservation/stabilization list were especially at risk of being lost due to major deterioration, financial crisis, or conversion to market-rate rents. This list does not include essential routine capital improvements.
  • Demolition permit numbers are included to give some context to the production numbers in relation to the number of units lost in the region’s housing stock. However, the demolition number comes from demolition permit issues only; because of this, the actual number of units lost, the affordability level, and the condition of these lost units is unknown.

For more information, please contact Sarah Berke at Family Housing Fund or Dan Hylton at HousingLink.

February 25th, 2018|Data, Housing Policy, Report|

Minneapolis-St. Paul Region Will Lose $85.6 Million Under Proposed Cuts to HUD

On March 16, 2017 the White House released its FY18 budget blueprint. The document included steep cuts in funding for affordable housing programs, including $6.979 billion in cuts to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The table estimates the annual losses to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Region under this proposal, using estimates from Affordable Housing Online.

Any level of cuts to local housing programs would have a significant negative impact on the tens of thousands of Twin Cities residents that depend on and benefit from them.

May 19th, 2017|Data, Housing Policy|