Minneapolis is suffering from a severe lack of affordable housing. Renters in the city make up 48% of residents and, according to Minnesota Compass, 46% of those renters are cost-burdened households. As rent climbs and people’s wages don’t, some people are forced to make hard decisions: cutting heat, eating less, or not buying needed medicines. As good neighbors, we need to do something to help people afford shelter. The first step to helping is to become more informed on the issue.
What is affordable housing?
The federal government defines affordable housing as housing that does not take more than 30% of a household’s income. The rent or home price that is considered affordable may change from one household to another, but the need to have housing that is affordable is something that is shared by everyone.
How does the government decide which housing to subsidize?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development looks at the salaries of everyone living in Hennepin County every April, then selects the income that is exactly in the middle of that group. This is called the AMI, or Area Median Income. They do this for every size of household. Those households that make 30% of the area’s median income would then qualify for federal subsidies.
What is the problem?
The number of available rental units that are considered in this 30% AMI bracket at any given time is currently zero. That’s right. Zero. So many are forced to pay higher rents due to a simple lack of places to live that are considered “affordable” by the Federal Government.
Making matters worse, because Hennepin County is a large area that includes many wealthy communities, the county’s median income ($118,200 for a family of four) is a poor metric to base affordability for Minneapolis residents since it’s much higher than the city’s median income ($70,099).
What are rent prices these days?
The vast majority of available rental properties in Minneapolis right now are between 50-100% AMI, with most closer to 80% and 100% AMI. This means that for a one bedroom apartment rents range between $1,100 to over $1,760 with the majority of those at $1,760 or higher.
If you have a family and need to rent housing with more than one bedroom, you will likely find the majority of two bedroom and above units above $2,000 per month and some units pushing $3,000.
What are we doing about it?
Nokomis East Neighborhood Association is teaming up with Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association (PPNA) to raise funds in 2023 for direct rental support for Nokomis East renters.
Selected applicants will receive $900 in rental assistance. Renters will be able to choose either three monthly payments of $300 or a one-time payment of $900. Those selected can then choose to receive payments via PayPal or a mailed check.
Applicants will be selected through a randomized lottery and there are no restrictions on how selected renters can spend the money. One goal of the program is to provide a low-barrier, flexible and efficient program for neighbors to access needed assistance. Once the funds are raised, eligible applicants will need to:
• live in one of the four Nokomis East neighborhoods
• spend 30% or more of their income on housing costs
• have not received Renter Support Fund funding that calendar year
• be 18 or older
Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association received over 1,650 applications in 2022 from across the city and was able to fund 52 renters, benefitting 141 people (including 68 children).
There were several applications that came from the Nokomis East area and 100% of renters said that the funds made a difference, allowing them to pay rent, bills, or other expenses.
You can find more information and donate to the Nokomis East Renter Support Fund at wwww.nokomiseast.org/renter-support-fund/.
Are you a business, non-profit, or faith group? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how you can sponsor this program.
4/6/23: NENA Housing|Development Committee 6:30-8:00pm, online
4/11/23: NENA Executive Committee Meeting 6:30-7:30pm, online
4/13/23: NENA Fundraising Events Team 6:30-7:30pm, online
4/17/23: NENA Environmental Committee 5:30-6:30pm, online
4/18/23 Wellness and Engagement Committee 7:30-8:30, online
4/22/23: Food Truck Rally 4-7pm
4/27/23: Annual Meeting 6:30-8:30, online and at Morris Park Rec Center
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here