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
At the June Minnesota Housing board meeting, the board considered public comments on several relevant topics in response to its proposed 2016-19 strategic plan. Operating subsidy awards for supportive housing programs were approved. The board heard an end-of session legislative report as well as a report on a recent meeting with Congressman Walz. Board Member Klinzing was approved for another term, the Agency will be hiring several new staff, and research interns will be working on studies over the summer.
MHP's June 2015 2x4 Report, released today, found that low rental vacancy rates and rising rents have led to competition for lower-priced units, at least in the Twin Cities where regular data is available. Minnesotans with low incomes are at greatest risk in this tight rental market.
According to data in the report, the overall rental vacancy rate for market-rate units was 2.7%. But for those renting for $1,000 or less, only 2.0% of units were vacant in the first quarter of 2015.* To afford an apartment that costs $1,000 per month, a family would need to earn $40,000 to avoid paying 30% or more of its income for housing, the federal standard for housing affordability.
With rising demand for rental units nationwide and in Minnesota, housing construction in the state is beginning to rebound, particularly for multi-family units, the report found. Through May of this year, 7,000 units were permitted statewide, the highest since 2006. Of these units, a record 39% were multi-family units.
Last month, over 50 people from seven different states gathered in Billings, Montana for a regional convening of western, rural Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) grantees. The SCI is a grant program designed by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities (PSC), a federal interagency partnership, which supported communities in regional planning to improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment.