Affordable housing

Mayor Frey has made affordable housing a top priority. He believes that housing is a right and residents should have access to affordable housing all throughout Minneapolis.

Record-setting affordable housing production

Mayor Frey believes in diverse neighborhoods. That means affordable housing should be in every neighborhood. The rich diversity of people in every corner of our city is part of what makes us great. 

Since Mayor Frey took office in January 2018, affordable housing has remained a top priority. Year over year, production has dramatically increased.  

Through the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, the City has been dramatically increasing affordable housing supply through a record number of affordable rental housing units and improved access to affordable homeownership. 

Minneapolis is growing faster than it has since 1950, and is now a majority renter population. Minneapolis renters are facing increasing housing costs with decreasing incomes, and the city has fewer affordable housing units today than it did 15 years ago. Housing production has not kept pace with unit loss. 

Approximately 50,000 Minneapolis renter households earn less than 60% of the area median income. Adequately funding and incentivizing the production of affordable housing is one of the City’s primary tools for helping to close the gap between what it costs to provide decent, safe housing and what people can afford. 

Jacob Frey responds to questions at a press conference

Affordable Housing Trust Fund

Almost 75% of renters experience cost burdens, meaning they pay more than 30% of their income for housing, because of the affordable housing shortage in the city. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are disproportionately impacted by housing instability.

To help expand access to affordable housing, the mayor’s budget has increased funding to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund by tens of millions of dollars over his term.

In December 2023, the City approved $16.8 million in direct investment and $1.5 million in 10-year federal tax credits to create or preserve 876 units of affordable multifamily rental housing in 9 projects located throughout the city.

These investments are the result of awards from the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) and Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit programs for 2023. Together, these investments will leverage over $341.4 million in private and public resources.

These funds are used to provide gap financing for the production and preservation of affordable rental housing for households earning less than 50% of area median income, with a priority for units affordable to households earning less than 30% of area median income.

New apartment building complex

Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH)

Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) properties generally refer to unsubsidized multifamily rental housing projects that have at least 20% of the units with rents affordable to households with incomes at or below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Minneapolis has approximately 30,000 in buildings of 4 or more units, and fewer than 15,000 of these units have rents affordable to households with incomes at or below 60% AMI. Preservation of NOAH properties have become a critical issue given the growing overall shortage of affordable housing.

With vacancy rates at about 2.7%, NOAH properties have become progressively attractive to speculators intent on maximizing cash flow through increasingly higher rents. Once a NOAH property is up-scaled or torn down, it's lost forever. By investing in preserving these properties, often in partnership with non-profit preservation buyers, we can secure affordability for the long term.

Mayor Frey partnered with the City Council to launch the City’s successful 4d Program, which preserves affordable homes in Minneapolis by helping apartment building owners obtain property tax reductions if they commit to keep 20% or more of their rental units affordable. Through the program, the City has helped preserve hundreds of affordable units throughout the city for Minneapolis renters and families.

Renter supports

Minnesota State Law establishes legal processes for tenants to enforce their legal rights to live in safe and healthy housing, including Rent Escrow Actions and Tenant Remedies Actions. Unfortunately, many low-income tenants believe they must live with the poor conditions in their apartments and homes because they are unaware of their rights and how to enforce them, fear retaliation from their landlord or involvement in the legal system, or lack the time and resources to make their case.

For these tenants, having a skilled attorney advise and assist them throughout the process has demonstrated success in improving tenant outcomes in court and improvements in housing conditions. That’s what motivated Mayor Frey to launch the More Representation Minneapolis initiative, which pairs pro bono attorneys with tenants facing eviction, leveling the playing field that too often favors the landlord.

The mayor has also supported city funding increases for nonprofit partners focused on legal services for Minneapolis renters.

Stable Homes, Stable Schools

Safe and stable housing is among the most significant out-of-school factors for predicting academic success. Research shows that students who have experienced homelessness are less likely to graduate high school and less likely to attend secondary level education programs. All students are more successful when families have long-term housing, starting from the elementary school years.

During the 2019-2020 school year, nearly 2,350 (or 6%) of Minneapolis Public Schools’ enrolled students experienced homelessness at some point during the year. Stable Homes Stable Schools initiative is a collaborative effort by the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA), Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), and Hennepin County Health and Human Services to provide funding and resources for families facing the threat of losing their homes or experiencing homelessness. The initiative is also supported by the Pohlad Family Foundation.

Mayor Frey allocated $3,350,000 in pilot funding for this priority initiative in the 2019 Minneapolis City Budget. The mayor’s 2021 budget proposal would make the program permanent.

As of November 2020, Stable Homes Stable Schools has prevented homelessness or provided housing stability for over 2,500 MPS students from nearly 900 families.

The initiative was originally targeted 15 Minneapolis Public Elementary Schools with the highest levels of student homelessness. Stable Homes Stable Schools was recently expanded to three additional schools. The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority will administer the initiative during the three-year pilot with a goal of stabilizing families and connecting them with other permanent resources including employment or other supports.

Learn more about Stable Homes, Stable Schools

Access to affordable homeownership

Minneapolis currently owns approximately 450 vacant building properties. These are incredible assets, and can be utilized to reinvest within our communities where a foreclosure crisis and a history of disinvestment have hit the hardest. In addition to the properties, financial wellness, down payment assistance, and rehabilitation loans support the goals of creating intergenerational wealth through real property ownership.

The 2019 budget includes over $4 million in funding for the Minneapolis Homes program, providing financial assistance to create homeownership housing opportunities, facilitate development of city-owned properties, and provide long term affordability of ownership housing.

Emergency support

Mayor Frey has also taken action to bolster affordable housing work amid the COIVD-19 pandemic and accompanying economic downturn. At the onset of the crisis, he quickly allocated $3.5 million in emergency funding to establish a “gap fund” package for Minneapolis renters and families.

Learn more about the mayor’s COVID-19 response and economic relief from the city.

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