The Habitat Heroes are proof that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Armed only with facts about the communal benefits of investing in affordable housing, and dressed in campy (but cool) green superhero T-shirts, our advocates descended on the Capitol and helped convince lawmakers to approve $100M in bonds directed towards housing projects. Literally thousands of Minnesota families will benefit from this great win. The money will mean fewer homeless families, safer apartment buildings, more construction jobs, and better neighborhoods filled with stable homeowners.
Thank you to everyone who helped get this done!
Even though the $100M is the largest total Minnesota lawmakers have ever decided to invest in the area of affordable housing (they approved $37.5M in 2012), it won't address all the challenges lower-income Minnesotans face. The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency will be responsible for assigning $80M worth of the funds but it got requests totaling more than $233M. So there's still plenty of work to do in the future. Don't believe us? Check out these 10 alarming Minnesota housingstats.
An estimated 14,000 Minnesotans are experiencing homelessness on any given night
8,300 school children are homeless in Minnesota's largest four school districts
Rents have increased by 7% each of the past two years (far outpacing inflation and wage growth)
The average rent in the Twin Cities is now more than $1,000/month
The vacancy rate for Twin Cities apartments with rents below $1,000/month is just 2.2%
A minimum wage worker must work 90+ hours/week to be able to comfortably afford the average Twin Cities apartment
Nearly 4,800 families were evicted in Minnesota in the first three months of 2014
12% of Minnesota households must put more than half of their money towards housing each month
Homes in parts of North Minneapolis and St. Paul's Eastside lost 50-60% of their value during the housing crisis
The homeownership rate for non-whites in St. Paul fell from 43% to 25% during the housing crisis