Maybe you've heard about the affordable housing crisis. Do you know the data behind it?
A few months ago, Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) released its Out of Reach Minnesota 2019 report, which covers rental affordability across the state. MHP also released its State of the State's Housing 2019 report, which gives similar affordability information for Minnesota homeowners.
Here are some of the key themes across both reports and how we're addressing these with our mission and work in the local Twin Cities community:
1) Stagnant or declining wages continue to put homeownership or modest apartment rental out of reach for many Minnesotans
Although Habitat does not directly tackle the issue of wages, we do work with prospective homebuyers to help them understand their current financial situation, and help identify any barriers they might face in obtaining a home loan. We provide education on income, debt, credit score, and other factors that make up a household's financial portfolio and help them create an action plan for making improvements. Since our programs and services are designed to serve low-to moderate-income households in the Twin Cities metro area, we work with buyers to create a strong foundation for them to pursue homeownership and be successful.
2) The price of monthly rent or mortgage payments causes many Minnesota families (roughly 27% of households) to fall in a "cost-burdened" category
Mortgages provided by TCHFH Lending, Inc. (a subsidiary of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity), have monthly payments set at no more than 30% of a household's income. Any housing payment over 30% of a households' income is considered a housing cost-burden.
3) Current production can't meet our housing demands, and at this rate, won't be able to meet future demand
Twin Cities Habitat is one of the largest, if not the largest, developer of affordable single-family homes in the state. We build or rehab roughly 50 affordable homes each year.
4) Racial disparities in homeownership continue to be a major issue
Twin Cities Habitat continues to work with all qualified families to pursue homeownership, regardless of race, gender, religion, country of origin, or any other protected class. In recent years, roughly 85% of our homebuyers identified as a person of color.
5) Senior housing needs are growing rapidly with our aging population, and more than half of seniors are cost-burdened with their current housing
In recognition of the growing need for affordable housing solutions for seniors, Twin Cities Habitat developed and launched a program to deliver home modifications for older, low-income homeowners who wish to remain in their current homes. You can read about the program and our partnership with Allina on our blog.
A way forward
Your voice needs to be heard by policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels! So many elements, like housing production and wages, are directly impacted by decisions made by our local and state lawmakers.
Support local organizations that offer special programs and services for first-time homebuyers and serve individuals across the housing spectrum.
Come build affordable housing with Habitat or help preserve existing homeownership by lending a hand with our home repair or Age in Place volunteer opportunities.