Advocacy Update: Twin Cities Habitat's Local Priorities

Emily Kirkevold
Posted by Emily Kirkevold on 4:00 PM on November 10, 2022

In addition to advocating at the federal and state levels, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity works to advocate for our affordable homeownership priorities on the local level. Two of our biggest partners in this local work are the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. This year the Habitat Government Affairs Team has been hard at work, meeting with elected officials and staff to build on the cities’ strong affordable homeownership investment. With city budgets released and public hearings starting, we’re sharing our vision for the 2023 city budgets and how you can help make them a reality!

City of Minneapolis

The City of Minneapolis has been a leader in affordable housing investment. The main program Twin Cities Habitat relies on is called Minneapolis Homes, which provides crucial funding for the production and preservation of affordable homeownership. Twin Cities Habitat builds an average of eight homes in Minneapolis each year—but without an increase in this important funding, that won’t be sustainable.

To build on this momentum and grow our work throughout the city, our priority for the 2023-2024 City Budget is:

Increase Investment in Minneapolis Homes

Between 2021-2022, Twin Cities Habitat has seen a massive 23% increase in production costs. Without greater investment in the Minneapolis Homes program, the available funding would support far fewer developments throughout the city. An increase in funds for Minneapolis Homes is urgently needed.

In the Minneapolis Mayor’s proposed budget, we were happy to see an increase in funding from $2.5 million a year to $4.5 million. This is very exciting, and we look forward to building on this funding to provide additional opportunities for affordable homeownership.

We Need Your Help in Minneapolis!

To get involved and share your passion for affordable homeownership, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity encourages you to email your Minneapolis City Councilmember. And good news: we've already drafted the email for you!  If you live in Minneapolis, click here to send an email to your Councilmember (you can make edits before sending).

You can also join us at the Minneapolis Budget Public Hearing on Tuesday, November 16 at 1:30 p.m. or Wednesday, December 8 at 6:05 p.m. These hearings will take place in Room 317 at Minneapolis City Hall. You can submit comments live in person or written in advance to be a part of the public record.

Harrison Hero 2
Twin Cities Habitat recently broke ground on a brand-new 17-townhome development coming to the Harrison neighborhood of Minneapolis in 2023.

 

City of St. Paul

The City of St. Paul is taking huge steps this year with the proposed creation of the Inheritance Fund, which will support homeownership opportunities for Black households who have experienced generations of racial discrimination in housing. In addition to this program, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has relied on the Inspiring Communities program for new development opportunities throughout St. Paul.

To build on the opportunities throughout the city, we have two priorities for the St. Paul 2023 City Budget:

1. Support the creation of the Inheritance Fund

In the 1950s, local leaders decided to place I-94 right through the heart of Old Rondo, the largest thriving Black neighborhood in St. Paul. Families lost their homes, and cherished businesses were shuttered. To learn more about the history of Old Rondo and I-94, click here.

Now, local leaders want to repair some of that harm. The Inheritance Fund proposed in the St. Paul Mayor’s budget will redistribute Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) allocations to create a program that provides Down Payment Assistance to descendants of former Old Rondo residents.

This fund has the potential to support multiple generations of new homeowners that will be able to regain access to lost generational wealth. Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is supportive of this fund and stresses the need for homebuyer education and community partnership to ensure its success.

Nick Khaliq closeup
Nick Khaliq, picture above, was 13 years old when his family lost their St. Paul home from the construction of I-94. Nick's grandfather resisted having to leave his home, and his was the last house on Rondo Avenue east of Western Avenue until he was forcibly removed. Read Nick's story and learn more about Rondo and I-94 here. 

2. Support funding of the Inspiring Communities Program

This budget will mark the second year of funding allocated following four years of no funding for the Inspiring Communities Program. Without continuous funding for programs like this one, nonprofit developers will have limited opportunities to find available lots and space to build. It is essential to have a reliable program that we can depend on in St. Paul. If this upcoming budget allocation is passed, it will support Twin Cities Habitat’s acquisition of single-family lots across the city for new affordable homeownership development.

We Need Your Help in St. Paul!

To get involved and share your support for these priorities, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity encourages you to email your St. Paul City Councilmember. Click here to send a pre-drafted email to your St. Paul Councilmember; it only takes a couple seconds!

Also, please join us for the St. Paul Budget Public Hearing. The next public hearing date and time are still to be determined—to receive updates and opportunities to get involved sign up for Twin Cities Habitat’s action alerts!

Sign up for Action Alerts

Tags: Advocacy, 2022

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