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December 2018 Housing Update
November 20, 2018

As you get ready for Thanksgiving, here is some news to think about in the December Housing Update.

  • As Minneapolis seeks to find indoor places for the residents of the Franklin-Hiawatha Encampment to move, St. Paul also had an encampment that came to an end last week. Minnesota Public Radio talks about the encampment’s end and where some of the former residents have ended up.
  • Speaking of encampments, Route Fifty Magazine looks at how four US Cities - Seattle, Los Angeles, Akron and Minneapolis - handle populations experiencing homelessness. The Franklin-Hiawatha Encampment is included in this story.
  • The Franklin-Hiawatha Encampment is a stark reminder of the crisis of homelessness within the Native American population. An older article from the Guardian shows how the Wall of Forgotten Natives in Minneapolis is part of a larger nationwide problem.
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul has a reputation of being a good place to live. But that “good life” is not so good for African Americans. The Twin Cities is rated the fourth worst place for African Americans in the United States. The report notes that the Twin Cites is still dealing with restrictive covenants that were in place in many parts of the metro area. “These policies still impact residential patterns today,” the report states. “The city is highly segregated by race and has some of the largest disparities in poverty, income, and homeownership between black and white residents of any U.S. metro area.”
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey launched a new initiative that would allow for more lawyers to do pro bono work to help defend renters in eviction cases.
  • Earlier this year, we shared a story from Minnesota Public Radio about persons experiencing homelessness who sleep on light rail trains during the winter. As the winter returns, Metro Transit is looking for solutions to this issue.
  • A group of formerly homeless persons in Minneapolis are behind a plan to build a community of tiny homes to house persons experiencing homeless and the housing insecure.
  • It is difficult to pursue a college degree if you are dealing with finding shelter or a meal, but that is the reality for many college students. The Chronicle on Higher Education has an interactive report on the growing problem of food and housing insecurity among students.
  • Why is it that cities that are considered “progressive” have acute housing problems? A San Francisco-based housing activist tries to find out.
  • It’s always nice to see some bipartisanship come out of Washington, especially when it comes to housing. Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, and Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, have introduced the Fair Housing Improvement Act of 2018. If passed, the legislation would build upon the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and would prohibit discrimination based on a variety of statuses, including “source of income and veteran status among the other anti-discriminatory factors, which include race or color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability.”
  • Speaking of Washington, there are ways the federal government can make housing more affordable.  Politico writer Katy O’Donnell offers six ways to alleviate the lack of affordable homes.
  • Finally, the news about Amazon choosing its second headquarters (actually second and third headquarters) has already had an impact on affordable housing: the site chosen for the Amazon campus in New York was initially slated for up to 1500 units of affordable housing. A state senator who represents Long Island City where the Amazon HQ2 is to be built had this to say about the decision: “The fact that massive public subsidies are helping eliminate affordable housing units is just the latest reason this bad deal needs to be torn up and thrown away.”

That’s it for the December Affordable Homes Update.  Happy Thanksgiving.


Dennis Sanders
Dennis Sanders is the Content Specialist at Beacon.