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MAP: Is Affordable Housing Distributed Fairly Across the Twin Cities?

HousingLink data highlights how uneven affordable housing availability can be.

Paying for rental housing is no easy proposition in Minnesota.

Last month, the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual Out of Reach report ranked the state worst in the Midwest and 24th nationally. A breakdown of the report by the Minnesota Housing Partnership estimated that 54 percent of renters can’t afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

But apartments can have a hard time winning neighbors over even when they don’t specifically serve low-income renters—as recent debates have shown.

In St. Louis Park, some residents criticized the proposed Eliot Park Apartments development that would build two new apartment buildings with a total of 138 units on Cedar Lake Road. Said Patch reader MMG:

All of a sudden, all I am seeing in this city is another multi-unit building being tossed up every couple of blocks and the very few new single residences are these ridiculous monstrosities squished into ridiculously small lots practically eating up the smaller homes around them.

Meanwhile, some Edina property owners object to a Bylery's grocery store redevelopment that brings with it . Said reader Kari Ciardelli:

MORE rental, really? What are you allowing to happen to this amazing SUBURB? Please consider the LONG TERM affects of this over abundance of high density housing.

The map above shows the number of publicly funded affordable housing units in each census tract, according to data Minneapolis-based HousingLink released Dec. 31 2011. The more affordable housing units in a tract, the darker the shade of red on the map.

(“Affordable,” in this case, means a unit can be rented by someone making 80 percent of the area median income or less. The totals do not include Section 8 vouchers, which is a program that allows renters to use vouchers in the private market.)

The map reflects an uneven distribution of affordable housing. Vast swathes of the Twin Cities have few affordable housing units, while a select few areas have high concentrations. In the western Twin Cities, Minneapolis has the most striking concentrations—although Hopkins, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Richfield and Golden Valley all have significant numbers.

Patch wants to know what you think of these trends. How well do communities do at providing affordable housing? Which ones do a good job and which ones don’t? Are communities even responsible for these trends or are they just responding to existing demand?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Mike G. April 09, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Does private development and ownership go to the cities for the approval?
Hugh Janus April 09, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Mike B. is like me, Hugh Janus
Heyitsme April 17, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Hilarious, that they don't want high density buildings and they don't like the suburbs urban sprawl. So WHAT do you do?
Michael Hindin April 20, 2013 at 02:22 PM
A good question to ask yourself is: can your young adult children or your employees afford to rent or own reasonably close to you. I have worked for communities with residency requirements and couldn't find any rentals, or starter homes that my salary could support. There are always examples of bad actors in rental and ownership situations but that doesn't make good policy and ecconomic decisions. There is violence and thievery in high and low places. Mental and physical disabilites often limit earning power but people need safe housing non the less.
AlPatch April 20, 2013 at 02:46 PM
A better question to ask is why is the Federal Reserve using low interest rates to inflate the price of housing and ignite a new bubble? Also, why is government constantly stuffing cash into education and healthcare and thus inflating its price? Then, with excess supply of labor and education not providing the right skills, wages don't stay on pace with the inflation in government supported areas. This is where few folks seem to understand that government isn't making good policy or economic decisions.
mike savick April 20, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Another good question is whether retired seniors, i.e. you, your parents, or grandparents can find affordable housing reasonably close to family members? That affects all of us. Seniors and their families need to maintain connections. Adult children often need to assist seniors with health issues or the loss of physical ability that occurs with age. Traffic and long drives can add significantly to the effort. No one is immune to economic or health disasters or age related loss of abilities.
Mike B. April 20, 2013 at 03:06 PM
The free market will decide what housing will be built and at what pricer it will be available. Any further meddling by government, whether it be federal, state, or local, is an unwarranted intrusion on Americans.
AlPatch April 20, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Seems the common thread is money printing to raise the price of housing, zoning to prevent senior care facilities, more money into healthcare to inflate the costs and high property taxes to finish off the affordability. Poor policies assure no one is immune from their effects.
AlPatch April 20, 2013 at 03:18 PM
Where is this free market you speak of?
mike savick April 20, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Mike B, Please sign the Conservative Pledge that you will never accept any benefits from the government including social security, medicare, medicaid, emergency services, roads, tax deductions, etc, Also sign the part that you will pay full price for any medical care arising out of preexisting conditions since that is part of Obama Care that you find so repulsive. (No "do over" on that one even if it was a Republican idea) Let us se if you really mean what you say.
Mike B. April 20, 2013 at 03:44 PM
Al Patch- You are correct... government meddling has made it difficult for a free market to exist. Democrat legislators should be forced to memorize the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I'm afraid they have no idea of what's in these documents. That's why Rand Paul may very well be elected our next President, to undo the damage that's been done to our country by the so-called New Deal, the so-called Fair Deal, and the so-called Great Society... all horrible government intrusions on Americans.
AlPatch April 20, 2013 at 03:46 PM
I think in allowing annual $1 trillion dollar plus deficits, we all have already signed a pledge. But, let's not forget other things that are purchased such as cell phones, trains, and many folks hired to over regulate. And, if there was not so much money flooding into areas like healthcare, the resulting inflation might be quite a lot less making these costs much more affordable. Insurers are right now warning of major premium increases with Obama Care. So, really, you are talking about a Socialist Pledge that by signing up with money we don't have(remember the deficits) we may all be taking a pledge to not have any of these "Benefits" available.
Orono April 22, 2013 at 01:46 AM
Mike - Your lame “gotcha” attempt to look smart has only proven you incredibly ignorant. You want someone to sign a pledge that states they will take no government benefits. Of course that would require that the signer stop paying all taxes and subsidizing you. I would do it in a heartbeat. I live on a private street. I already pay to have it plowed, fixed, tarred, you name it. I already pay for my own healthcare. My premiums have nearly doubled so people like you can get their healthcare for free. My kids go to private school. My property has well water. Remove the government completely from life and I will do just fine. News flash, genius: The taxes I pay far exceed the resources I use. You need me way more than I need you. Pretending just for a second that this conservative contract actually existed, you would be begging me not to sign it.
Michael Hindin April 22, 2013 at 03:21 AM
Orono, you truely are the arrogent one. How can you assume I get my helth care for free? We have been paying taxes on the same property for 32 years as well as federal and state income taxes etc. Once you leave your private enclave you still need the public roads, Your groceries, gasoline, etc travel on public roads, state and local police protect you and your children, the US military protects you, your well water has been preotected by governmnt regulations that mandate safe well construction and keeping sewage and chemical contamination away from it, Try paying for your ownarmy ,police, fire ambulence , hospital etc. Yea you truely are independent, self reliant, and self made and full of hot air. .
AlPatch April 22, 2013 at 03:52 AM
The thread started as an affordable housing discussion. But, I don't think the argument went off topic. Healthcare cost shortages do appear to be raising private health insurance premiums as Medicare/Medicaid apparently heads towards reimbursing below cost. If taxes were only used for the services both parties above noted, possibly no deficit. But, deficit is created by Medicare, Medicaid, income support payments and military. In MN, health and human services over $11 billion every two years on total budget of about $38 billion. As you raise all these government provided benefits, you raise taxes and subsequently the prices of goods and services. Example: Dems want to play a game of raising manufacturers beer excise tax...this just gets passed on to the consumer. Point is you can't keep adding benefits, taxes, hiding costs and expect you get to affordable housing. Instead, with work force at 30 plus year participation low, you don't have the ability to raise wages, just costs. Too much government trying to do too much. Stagflation. Complexity creates collapse. And, the Mikes and Oronos are too far apart to reach agreement. Both have a point, but no way to find solutions.
Michael Hindin April 22, 2013 at 12:06 PM
Orono, Actually the point is that you get much more benefits from the community including infrastructure than you are willing to admit to yourself and others. Even Bill Gates can't efficiently build an airport for a 747 and his own highways. You can't efficiently protect your enclave from pollution that has local and regional sources. With our the community/ government you couldn't have zoning that prevents a chemical plant from moving next to you or piping waste to your favorite lake. You can't have commerce without contract laws, standard measurements, etc. As for healthcare, insurance companies were very good at not paying for preexisting conditions and forcing some policy holders to use public assistance for surgeries, etc. Like all of us you are a heartbeat from disaster. Mistakes, crime, and other factors can make your financial house tumble. Natural or other disasters can destroy businesses and jobs. Illness or disability can wreak havoc at any time. "No man is an island" still rings true.
Michael Hindin April 22, 2013 at 12:36 PM
AlPatch. Agreed that constant defict spending is a bad practice, including engaging in warfare without a plan to pay for it. Would any of us agree to Iraq if we had an estimate of the cost? WWII ( not optional) was paid for with taxes and citizens were urged to buy war bonds, etc. Would anyone talk about to deporting 11 million people if we had a cost per taxpayer estimate? agreed, real cost information is definitly important. For example What is the cost of having an unvaccinated kid sitting next to a relative whose immune system is suppressed by cancer treatment? Who pays for pollution damage? Do we pay for it on the front end by making the source control the pollution and raise prices or pay for the illnesses and property damage? On the other side, deficit spending has a role when the economy is in recession to get money moving, but we seem to collectively forget that we need to pay it back when the economy is strong. We probably agree that there are no easy solutions.
Orono April 22, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Mike I realize that me saying this will only further my arrogance in your eyes but, if you truly want to make a point with any kind of credibility, it would help immensely if you used spell-check. When I say “you”, I actually was meaning you and your party and you and your fellow constituents. I obviously have zero clue about you personally. Now, on to your many points… I actually am an island. Throw me on any deserted island and I will live forever. You are the one that is not an island. Without me, you fail. I fully agree that we are all a heartbeat away from a disaster. However I strongly object to the idea that crime will make my financial house tumble. Where on earth were you raised that crime is even a consideration ever?
Orono April 22, 2013 at 05:49 PM
The conservative contract was your idea. I simply played it out for you. Taxes are not ever going away. As far as public roads go and the police and fire, I could argue all day that privatizing it all would be cheaper and more effective than anything the government does. Let the government have all the roads. I have no problem paying a sales tax or usage tax to pay for it to be maintained. Slap a toll both on the road between my private road and my private business headquarters. Every time I drive on it, I would be required to pay. I am not 100% against anything and everything government. No one arguing on this website is. The argument is for LESS government. But to your claim, if I am paying the government for something, and then decide to actually use it, it is not “accepting a government benefit”. I pay in to social security. I am semi-retired. I have every intention of taking social security (assuming it is still available) when I fully retire. It is my money. Your side of the fence is using the roads, using the police, going to school, taking welfare and social security and not putting a dime into the pot. When you put nothing in and then demand to take more and more out, the money in the pot runs out. I paid a crap load of taxes last week. I definitely paid my fair share. You don’t think it is enough. Instead of focusing on those not paying anything, you look to me to pay even more. When does it end? Unless something is done, it will never end.
Orono April 22, 2013 at 05:50 PM
So, back to your original incredibly lame attempt to put a conservative in his place with your conservative contract idea. You need me way more than I will ever need you. The mere fact that you even offered up the contract proves you have no idea how it all works. I accept your apology.
Orono April 22, 2013 at 05:57 PM
These threads always turn to the same topic. Those who take, demand to take more. Those who give, complain because they dont want to be told to give any more. I wonder if things would be better if those who take and never give would simply thank those that give. Have of my issue is not feeling appreciated. Being told that all I gave last year wasnt good enough, really pisses me off.
mike savick April 22, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Most of the folks I know, like me work, for a living. I also know people on both sides if the political spectrum who are unable to make a living due to illness, injury age, etc. "Throw me on any deserted island and I will live forever." Really, you have divine immortality unlike any other human? Food will appear magically? You would never need health care? You wouldn't need any health care professional that were educated in publicly funded institutions or government insured scholarships? You couldn't face a devastating injury by accident or the result of a criminal act? You could never be the victim of a financially based crime that could reduce your assets? It would be nice if you and our regulators could be 100% effective against financial and other criminals. I don't think you would do so well on your deserted island unless it is on body of water with full connections to a community by boat or bridge..
AlPatch April 22, 2013 at 07:44 PM
I still can't really argue much with either person's point. If you use the dollar, you can't be an island. Government is involved in many things very inefficiently. Yet, Boston law enforcement was massive and effective, thankfully. Most paying income taxes, except maybe trust fund babies, probably had to or are working at some point. Yeah, the conservative contract thing was not my favorite. But, we have to pay for these things like roads and infrastructure. What bothers me most is we have the lowest employment participation rate since 1979. Where's the leadership on changing that! Mike, thanks for working. Orono, thanks for paying.
mike savick April 22, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Low employment bothers me a lot as a human, tax payer and business consultant. One thing to think about is that workers, raw materials and related expenses are tax deductions. Another thought is that employees are hired to make money for the employer. Investments in business equipment are tax deductions. We need business leadership to create and sell more American products. Likewise we need consumers who are willing to pay a few pennies more to create more jobs for our neighbors. Employed workers are healthier, pay more taxes, and are consumers with disposable income. We are interdependent.
leannasartin September 11, 2013 at 08:12 AM
I was an attorney for five years until I became disabled in 2010. Suddenly I found myself trying to survive on my Social Security disability payment as my sole source of income. I also have a 16 year old daughter. Right now we rent a small house near Lake Harriet. Our only option over the next few months is affordable/public housing. We also found out we may end up in roach infested crime ridden high rises where, based on our class, we will be instant targets of every miscreant that lays eyes on us. My daughter may even be raped coming home or in the hallways of the high rise from hell. I wish there was more affordable housing in decent neighborhoods. I wish I could get better and reinstate my attorney's license but my prognosis is not good yet.
Barry L. September 11, 2013 at 11:18 AM
Leanna, I am sorry to hear about your situation. You are exactly right about concentrated low income. Section 42 housing have caused a lot of issues in providing help for the people in need. THE MAP that Met council shows where concentrated areas of poverty and racial dived. What need to happen is that cities like EDINA must open their door to section 42 housing and set an example. Why dose MET council get a $200k study for section 42 housing but never built? Because most members are connected to the city of Edina elite.
Orono September 12, 2013 at 01:47 PM
Barry actually said: "What need to happen is that cities like EDINA must open their door to section 42 housing and set an example." What first needs to happen is that you need to get a clue. Edina should set an example? Because the housing is in Edina it will magically be safer? Maybe on the applications, Edina can but in BOLD "NO RAPISTS or BADGUYS are allowed to apply" Maybe that will keep all the bad that goes along with government housing out. The state of MN has determined Leanna to be mentally ill. Obviously that is a disability. My tax dollars should support people that cant support themselves. Sadly, those dollars are also supporting those who dont want to support themselves. Leanna should not have to be thrown into a house full of clueless and worthless people. I hope she finds the help she needs.
Barry L. September 12, 2013 at 02:46 PM
Orono, Let me clear...Let the market drive housing...Do not put goverment in charge of building housing units like Leanna is talking about...What happen and you can goggle Section 42 housing and see this is a big money grab...I am not in favor of any 100% section 42 housing unit. On Edina...They use work force that is shoved off on to Richfield..So the motto of Richfield besides Senor housing, Gods waiting room is now send your low wage earners to Richfield and we will house them for your jobs in Edina...Oh yea, President Reagan started the Section 42 housing...
Orono September 17, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Barry, Richfield is just like east Bloomington. The houses are cookie cutters all built after WWII. The houses used to be full of the working class, now they attract the lower class. Edina has nothing the people of Richfield can afford. Since when do you need to live in the city you work in?
Barry L. September 17, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Exactly Richfield is treated like EAST EDINA...We are on a teetering stage now..."Edina has nothing the people of Richfield can afford" You need to drive around Richfield...not just Nicolett, Portland or Cedar before you make a statement like that.... You are missing the point. You can watch the buses Flo to the west in the morning with the work force that feeds and cleans Edina...Build work force housing - section 42 housing where people work. stop the concentration of poverty in one area...

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