Minnesota groups asking state for affordable housing money

By KBJR News 1

April 24, 2014 Updated Apr 25, 2014 at 9:13 AM CDT

It's been five years since the housing collapse and some people are saying the recovery never came to lower income Minnesotans.

Minnesota 20-20 and the Minnesota Housing Partnership came to Duluth today to talk about the problems with finding affordable housing.

The groups are pushing for a bill to go through the Minnesota legislature to provide 100 million dollars to build or rehab about five-thousand housing units.

The problem is very real.

"For a while there I had my three children in one room that includes two girls and one boy" said Shannon Redbrooke, a sufferer of the lack of affordable housing.

Shannon Redbrooke was homeless for a year before finding housing for her family and even after finding a place to live she still faced major hurdles paying for it... but that wasn't the only problem.

"We had to deal with landlords that didn't take care of their place" said Redbrooke.

A report released by Minnesota 20-20 and the Minnesota Housing Partnership shows more than 600-thousand households in Minnesota pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing, while 14-thousand Minnesotans are homeless on any given day.

"Families and people across the state are in situations where they do not necessarily have a home that they can afford to live in" said Research and Outreach Coordinator for Minnesota Housing Partnership, Leigh Rosenberg.

Minnesota 20-20 and the Minnesota Housing Partnership are requesting 100 Million dollars in state money to help those in need of affordable housing.

"Which would really help us improve the situation for renters and help preserve the affordable housing that we do have in the state" said Rosenberg.

80 million dollars of the amount requested would go for Housing Infrastructure bonds, while 20 million would go toward Public Housing bonds.

The number of renters has increased and it has driven up the price of renting. Community Action Duluth has plans to help people, who find themselves without affordable housing, by constructing apartments in the closed Lincoln Park School.

"Rates we anticipate will range from approximately 300 dollars for a studio apartment, up to about 800 dollars for a three bedroom apartment" said Regional Property Manager for Sherman Associates, Tina Sklors.

Creating affordable housing is not cheap and organizations like Community Action Duluth hope the request for state funding will come through to ease the burden.

If the 100 million dollar request is granted, money will be appropriated on a competitive basis to organizations requesting funds for housing projects.

Spokespeople say about 50 housing units will be available sometime next year, with several units being offered for the homeless.

Bryce Henry