For more than 45 years those hoping to understand the full effect of the 1968 Fair Housing Act were in a fog. While the Act required HUD and other federal agencies to pro-actively further fair housing choice through housing and urban development programs, regulations clarifying what this meant and guiding how this should be accomplished were never developed.
This July, HUD released its final rule clarifying the obligations of entities receiving HUD funds to carry out the Fair Housing Act. Cities, counties, states and public housing agencies will now take on a significant set of new requirements which can potentially benefit disadvantaged people by strengthening efforts to connect them to employment and other community opportunities.
Our 2015 County Profiles point to trouble for renters all across Minnesota. Rents have risen and affordable rental units are in very short supply for those who need them. This year's profiles for each of Minnesota's 87 counties include data not just on housing cost burden, but also on new units permitted for construction, projected needs for seniors, and affordability for top jobs-in-demand. The profiles show there is unmet need in all counties, and that Greater Minnesota counties have seen the sharpest increases in rents since 2000.
The July meeting of the Minnesota Housing board featured several interesting developments and lively discussion. With $3 million in new National Housing Trust Fund dollars coming to Minnesota next year, the Agency has been tasked with envisioning how these dollars will be awarded and used. The Agency is also considering how to update its formula, currently still based on 1990 population data, for distributing tax credits among the sub-allocators, which make local tax credit awards. Board members raised questions about the staff's proposal. Also covered were the Agency's predictive cost model, planning documents, and a closed session on a HUD meeting about a fair housing complaint.
Teams from MHP’s Greater MN regional community development training program, the Housing Institute, met early this month in Baxter, MN for their third gathering since their kick-off meeting last January. The meeting gave teams the chance to update each other on their projects' progress, discuss federal policy with staff from Minnesota congressional offices, and “speed date” with local developers interested in helping projects move forward.
"Meeting with potential developers was definitely a highlight of the meeting. It helped educate team members about what a developer might be looking for if they were interested in our project." - Debra Shaff, Executive Director of the Cloquet/Carlton HRA