Duluth Faces Shortage of Affordable Housing.

By KBJR News 1

August 18, 2013 Updated Aug 18, 2013 at 3:54 PM CDT

Duluth, MN(NNCNOW.com) --- Duluth Resident Don Hawn has been trying to find an affordable place to live in Duluth for months.

"There's lists of people waiting to get a place but nowhere to go," said Don Hawn.

Hawn was homeless due to a criminal record that made it difficult for him to get a place, but with help from CHUM, he now has an apartment; but he faces another struggle.

"I pay over 60 percent of my income in just my rent," said Hawn.

Hawn is not alone. A new survey, released by the Minnesota Housing Partnership, shows nearly 30 percent of people who rent in Duluth pay more than half of their income for rent.

"That, of course, leaves a lot less funding for kids shoes, food and other necessities," said Rick Ball, Executive Director of Duluth's Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

Rick Ball, executive director of Duluth's Housing and Redevelopment Authority, says a minimum wage earner would have to work 77 hours a week to be able to afford rent in Duluth

"What we end up paying is a lot more than we can afford,"
said Hawn.

Ball says another problem facing renters is a vacancy rate of just one percent

"a very tight housing market is going to also create some real pressure on people looking to find affordable housing," said Ball.

The sequester impacted low income renters by reducing government funding and decreasing housing vouchers. The city says there is a dire need for the funds to keep up with the housing demand.

"We need more housing at all income levels at this point," said Ball.

There is a bright note for the housing situation in Duluth.

Construction of the Steve O'Neill Apartments will provide 44 permanent housing units and six emergency shelters for families.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@kbjr.com

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