Together we can preserve and produce more units of quality affordable housing. The Twin Cities region needs to produce at least 3,500 more units annually to keep up with the demand for affordable homes. Family Housing Fund is working to preserve and produce more affordable housing, while advocating for practices that are efficient and cost effective. With our partners, we’re disrupting entrenched practices to ensure the housing market meets the growing need for decent, affordable homes for families throughout the region. Here’s how we spark new ideas and catalyze change.
Championing development strategies that value gentle density
Family Housing Fund is exploring innovative strategies to expand ownership models that build individual and community wealth and add a variety of housing options across the region.
With a collaborative of partners, Family Housing Fund explores ways to increase the available supply of small, multifamily (2-4 unit) homes, which offer affordable entries to homeownership and wealth building.
We promote the development of Accessory Dwelling Units as a flexible, neighborhood-scale method of adding to the housing supply. ADUs provide unique opportunities for multigenerational living, aging in place, and wealth building.
Advancing Local Policies to Preserve and Produce Affordable Housing
Family Housing Fund informs local policy throughout the region to preserve and produce housing, advance racial equity, and connect cities’ actions for regional impact. Our policy work ranges from consulting with local government on policy implementation, to testifying on proposed policy changes, to promoting participation in local programs and more.
We conduct, publish, and share research and informational resources to inform policymaking. For instance, we’ve developed best practices for utilizing excess public lands for affordable housing development and identified public lands with potential for housing development.
We inspire regional connection and coordination around policy by publicly tracking housing policies throughout the metro, enabling policymakers and others to easily compare policies across jurisdictions.
Preserving Government-Assisted Affordable Homes
We work with partners across the Twin Cities region to preserve the affordability of homes that receive federal, project-based rent assistance. While these homes have remained affordable for many years, some affordability requirements are set to expire soon. Our collaborative effort is working to ensure this housing continues to provide affordable homes for our communities.
Expanding new approaches to development and preservation in the region
Family Housing Fund explores innovative methods for producing and preserving more housing units more cost-effectively. We champion the widespread adoption of proven approaches and continually seek new ideas to pilot.
We help sellers of unsubsidized, naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH) connect to preservation-oriented buyers, and we’ve developed tools to help preservation partners identify NOAH that is at risk of losing affordability.
We explore a variety of ideas that reduce the cost of new housing development. For example, we worked with architects to develop free-to-use construction plans for energy-efficient duplexes to reduce predevelopment costs for emerging developers, making these projects more feasible. Occasionally, we invest in pilot or proof-of-concept projects that utilize cost-effective development methods, such as Envision Community.
Process for Considering Funding Decisions
Family Housing Fund uses a relationship-based funding process with very low barriers to seeking support. We explore funding relationships in two ways:
- We react to ideas: Instead of asking a partner to submit a written proposal delivered by a certain deadline, we like to start with a conversation, or even an email. A conversation allows for immediate feedback, and is less time consuming and expensive for an applicant than submitting a written proposal.
- We co-develop ideas: Some of the best new strategies are borne from brainstorming and building on each other’s ideas. Family Housing Fund staff often participates in—or even convenes—problem-solving sessions where new ideas or interventions are proposed.
Although our process is informal, some projects require approval from our Board of Directors, and all funded projects must align with the priorities outlined in our strategic plan. Any project must specify objective measures that would define success. When commissioning research or similar contracts, Family Housing Fund allows up to a 10 percent indirect cost rate to cover overhead or administrative costs. (Read our full indirect cost policy.)
Please contact our Program Director Kirstin Burch to begin a conversation about funding.