The supply of local affordable housing is short of the growing demand, and so far, the city of Minneapolis (in other words, the City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey) has proposed an ordinance requiring all residential development projects to include 10-20% subsidized housing, as reported in the Star Tribune. The developers, however, are strongly opposed to the proposal, saying it would drive the cost of projects up too much, thus stifling the addition of housing units, further compounding the issue by driving rent up in all segments of housing. If passed, the rule would likely bring even current projects in-the-work to a stop, or so the developers have assured.
Instead of enacting this sort of a “blanket policy”, the group contends that first and foremost, the city should fervently drive development of more housing units, by the thousands each year, for the next several years. And rather than require more affordable housing in all projects, the city set aside the incremental tax income from new development projects into a fund specifically for affordable housing. The more projects pushed to completion, the more tax income into the fund, and the more affordable housing subsidies the city can provide.
According to the article, the city of course sees the policy as the cheapest route to more affordable housing and believes it could work well hand-in-hand with the $40 million that Mayor Frey has proposed to address the issue in the coming year. The question remains, if developers are saying they’ll have to pull-out of projects if said ordinance is put into law, who will blink first?
It’s a thrilling, dynamic time to be a Twin Cities resident. So much transformation is taking place, while emotions are flying high across the board. As elections are next week, it’s a good reminder to stay an active citizen and make your opinion known to your elected leaders. You (in theory, at least) have a say in how your city plans for the future and addresses crises.
Photo By Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - Eitel Apartments, Loring Park, Minneapolis, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=70449154