What can a policy maker do to help?
Underscore housing as core to your policy making.
Value all voices in your housing discussions: developers, tenants, communities, and advocates. Adopt an integrated approach to policy making, keeping affordability, education, health, and transportation in mind when addressing housing. Consider policy changes that incentivize development at affordable price points and broaden housing options.
Make targeted investments to existing affordably-priced housing units to secure long-term affordability.
Engage business leaders in solutions.
Business leaders know the housing shortage is impacting their employees. Many are looking for a way to help and may have creative ideas for new solutions.
Affordability isn’t limited to one community. Collaborate with neighboring policy makers to ensure local policies advance affordability across the region.
- Read an example of a collaborative regional approach.
What can a housing advocate do to help?
Educate elected officials about how housing costs impact current residents or workers in your community.
Our research shows 1 in 5 workers in the Twin Cities region is housing cost-burdened. Your elected officials need to hear from you about the specific situation in your community. Advocate for zoning policies responsive to your community’s needs and more funding for housing initiatives.
- Educate yourself on the supply needs of your specific geographic area. Read our report on the region’s future workforce housing needs.
- Explore the Homes for All legislative agenda.
Learn how your community responds to rental building code violations.
Encourage local government to adopt a balanced approach to enforcement that requires basic quality standards while putting tenants at the center of all enforcement decisions.
Improve stability in your community by helping to prevent eviction.
Eviction can create a downward spiral of housing instability. A great deal of work is being done to address the root causes of eviction and enhance housing stability for families. You have a role to play.
- Learn more about our eviction prevention work and get in touch to partner with us.
- Support changes to Housing Courts across the region in order to create a resource-rich environment that addresses the real needs of litigants.
- Advocate for rapid access to flexible emergency assistance dollars to support renters who encounter a financial challenge that leaves them unable to pay their rent in full.
- Work with us to reach out to property owners and help address disputes and problems without an eviction filing.
Evaluate whether your community’s housing stock provides a full range of housing choices.
- Identify housing options that are absent in your community and create a plan to fill these gaps using organizing, advocacy, and lobbying.
- Encourage government bodies to prioritize publicly-owned land for affordable housing.
- Consider life-cycle strategies that help with accessibility or in-home services that keep seniors as part of the community. For example, an ADU can provide options for multigenerational living, housing an adult child with a disability, or aging in place.
What can an engaged neighbor do to help?
Actively voice your support for affordability in your community.
Attend community meetings and support more homes in your community, making room for affordability. Encourage your neighbors to be vocal about the need for affordable housing and funding. 43% of all Minnesota voters are “quiet supporters” of housing. Let your support be known to your elected officials.
- Find out what housing policies are under consideration in your local city. Engage in and support the local discussion.
- Get involved in the state legislative efforts and support a broad based coalition to expand options throughout the state. Explore the Homes for All legislative agenda.
Build an Accessory Dwelling Unit and advocate for policy best practices.
Read our ADU Guidebook and reach out to your city’s planning staff to learn how you can create a rental unit on your own property. Write letters to local elected officials and speak up in meetings, asking that they adopt ADU-friendly local policies.
- Get inspired: Read about other Twin Cities homeowners who have built ADUs and learn how to build one yourself in Home + home: Twin Cities ADU Guidebook for Homeowners.
- Explore policy ideas in ADUs: Housing for a Growing Region.
Host a discussion group within your community of faith.
Invite a housing speaker to help educate your community of faith about housing and identify steps you can take collectively to benefit the community. Collaborate with other faith communities to learn how you can help and to maximize the impact of your efforts.
- Read about one way faith communities are addressing the housing crisis.
Volunteer as a neutral mediator at Housing Court.
Help create win-win solutions to avoid eviction and maintain housing stability.
What can a housing provider do to help?
Lease an affordable home to someone who needs it.
- Enroll some or all of your units in your local 4d program and receive property tax abatement in exchange for your commitment to affordability. Read about one property owner’s experience with 4d.
- List your units on HousingLink and actively recruit Housing Choice Voucher holders.
- Participate in the Stable Homes, Stable Schools initiative if you own property in Minneapolis.
Sell your property to a buyer who will preserve affordability for your residents.
1,300 rental units lose affordability every year after property sale. But many buyers and sellers in the region want to preserve affordability. Need help connecting with a preservation-minded buyer or seller? Contact Sarah Berke.
- Learn more about preservation opportunities.
Examine your tenant selection criteria with an eye toward expanding opportunities for more people.
Research shows certain barriers in a person’s background are not necessarily relevant to a renter’s ability to succeed as a tenant. Revisit your screening criteria to consider whether your requirements could be loosened without increasing risk.
Invest in new technology to lower the cost of housing.
Everyone benefits from lower development and operating costs.
What can a business leader do to help?
Be a public civic leader for new housing. Let policy makers know that housing for your employees matters for your business’ success and your community’s economy.
43% of Minnesota voters are “quiet supporters” for more housing. You have a unique role to represent this support, and your policymakers need to hear from you. Educate yourself on the supply needs in your specific geographic area, and say yes to more homes.
Support your employees’ efforts to attain affordable housing.
Survey your employees to understand whether or how housing is an issue for them. They may be preparing to buy a home, need help raising their credit scores, or in need of a reference to strengthen their rental application. Consider making available a few key supports that can help them secure stable and affordable housing. With fewer housing worries, they are likely to be better able to perform their job, too.
- Consider matching downpayments or security deposits to help ensure your employees can access quality housing.
- Establish an emergency loan fund for your employees who need immediate help.
- Be a reference for your employees to list on their rental applications.
Advocate for a strong housing policy agenda.
Stay updated on local policy priorities. Zoning, 4d, public lands policies, and ADU policies are set by cities and counties. You can advocate for good housing policy.
- Learn more about the potential of local housing policies: Housing Counts Policy Toolbox.
Ask yourself what else you can do.
How can you put housing on the agenda of groups you have access to? How can you help inform the policy debates? What types of support can you offer your employees in need of affordable housing? Contact us with your ideas.