By Caitlin Magistad
Twin Cities Habitat Advocacy Associate
Where we live impacts everything—access to safe, stable, and affordable housing is the foundation for thriving families and neighborhoods. Yet, for too many Twin Cities families, stable housing is out of reach. In Minneapolis, more than 60,000 households pay more than they can afford for housing. The city is increasingly unaffordable for both renters and first-time homebuyers, and racial disparities in housing persist throughout the city.
According to a recent analysis of Census data, the homeownership rate for white households in Minneapolis is 59%, while only 23% of black households own their home. The racial homeownership gap in Minneapolis has gotten worse in the last decade, down from 29%—both lower than the national average of 42%. Historical discrimination like redlining, and the more recent subprime mortgage crisis, disproportionately affected black and Hispanic families in Minneapolis, especially in neighborhoods on the north side.
Minneapolis renters, especially people of color, are also being priced out of their housing, and more likely to experience the destabilization caused by evictions. At a recent event co-sponsored by Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, joined local advocates and leaders to discuss the devastating impacts of evictions:
“Eviction causes loss,” Desmond explained. “Families lose their home, their community, their stuff. Kids lose their schools. Evictions come with this mark or blemish, which can prevent you from moving into good housing in a safe neighborhood — and can also keep you out of public housing… We have a study that shows eviction causes job loss, because eviction is such a consuming, stressful, drawn-out event that can cause you to lose work, lose your footing in the labor market. And eviction affects your soul, your mental health. When you add all that up, evictions, which used to be rare in this country, are not just a condition of poverty, they’re a cause of it, too.”
Solving our housing challenges requires public and private partners, including our local elected officials. As Minneapolis voters prepare for Election Day on Tuesday, November 7, community voices are raising housing as an election issue. Twin Cities Habitat, as part of Make Homes Happen, asked Minneapolis city council and mayoral candidates to share their views on affordable housing in a series of candidate forums and questionnaires. Make Homes Happen is a coalition of metro-area affordable housing organizations working together to address issues of equity and affordable housing. Thanks to all the candidates and community members who participated, we had robust discussions of the current state of housing in Minneapolis, and potential solutions to make Minneapolis a vibrant and equitable city for all its residents. You can see city council candidate perspectives here, and a recording of our mayoral forum here.
After you've done your candidate research, it's time to get out and vote—visit mnvotes.org to register to vote, find your polling place, and more! Of course, our work doesn’t stop with Election Day. Twin Cities Habitat will continue to advocate with our local partners for strong commitments to affordable housing and equity, and we’ll keep you posted with ways to get involved—sign up here to receive our action alerts!