Family Housing Fund
Established in 1980, the Family Housing Fund vision is that all families will have a home they can afford and a place from which they prosper and contribute to the larger community. The FHFund supports the Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the Metropolitan Council, and Minnesota Housing in their efforts to meet the region’s affordable housing needs. Originally created by The McKnight Foundation and the Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the FHFund serves the entire Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area.
Research has shown that stable, safe housing is an important foundation for the social and economic success of families and children. Unfortunately, many families in the Twin Cities metropolitan area are spending too much of their income on housing, living in substandard conditions, or are without a place to call home.
A home is considered affordable if a family spends no more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs, or a combined 45 percent of their income on housing and transportation costs. By this measure, more than 34 percent of Twin Cities households are cost burdened, and the burden disproportionally falls on the lowest income households (Minnesota Compass, 2011). Given current trends, this statistic will only get worse over the next several years. According to Minnesota Housing Partnership, rents increased six percent across Minnesota from 2000 to 2008–2012, but real income fell 17 percent.
Housing costs are out of reach for most low- and moderate-income families. In the Twin Cities, a family would have to earn $43,300 per year ($20.82 per hour) to afford a two-bedroom apartment, or $52,000 per hear ($25.00 per hour) to buy a modest single-family house. However, half of the jobs in the Twin Cities pay less than $40,560 (Family Housing Fund , 2014).
Homelessness among families with children is also an increasing challenge in our community. According to Wilder Research’s one-night count, more than 3,500 children were homeless in 2012. Children pay a particularly high price for homelessness, having more physical and mental health problems and experiencing developmental delays. Sadly, many children who experience the trauma of homelessness will repeat the experience as adults—unless the Family Housing Fund, its partners, and the community can create system-wide change.
The Family Housing Fund believes that alignment, based on intentional collaboration, is the key to regional prosperity for all citizens of the region, particularly those who are struggling with limited resources and disadvantages.
As a funder, convener, and educator, the Family Housing Fund believes it can help the affordable housing network adapt to the needs of families in complex and constantly changing conditions by:
- Drawing on networks of relationship to identify emerging issues and impending crises that affect housing for families,
- Consolidating and interpreting data to inform decision making,
- Recommending adaptive policy, process, practice,
- Convening stakeholders (within and beyond the affordable housing network) for collective action on urgent and emerging issues,
- Leveraging existing and building new financial, social, political, and information capital for flexible and risk-tolerant investments, and
- Testing promising ideas and sharing results.