Minnesota’s Worsening Rental Crisis

Dylan Novacek July 30, 2020

Updated Sept 3

Minnesota’s housing crisis continues to deepen and will reach a breaking point as economic relief measures run out. With the lifting of eviction moratoriums and extra unemployment money ending, we are facing an unprecedented housing crisis. A tsunami is coming, and if we don’t act quickly and boldly, Minnesotans already struggling to stay afloat are going to have their legs washed out from under them.

All levels of government must take dramatic action to address the crisis. The State of Minnesota must respond to this housing crisis through a number of efforts, especially Bring it Home MN, creating a state rent subsidy program.

Latest Data of Minnesota Renters

The U.S. Census Bureau has begun taking weekly surveys, called the Pulse Survey, to measure household experiences during COVID-19. This survey of Minnesota renters shows the deepening crisis, particularly for Minnesota renters of color.*

We need a bold solution that gets us to a better place than we were before.

Not A New Crisis: Data Before the Pandemic

550,000 Minnesotans live in households struggling every month to pay rent.
(American Community Survey Data household data, 2016, assuming 2.5 persons per household)

Our housing crisis demands a solution as big as the problem. A historic investment in home is essential to address the housing crisis and move us toward racial equity.

The goal of Bring It Home, Minnesota is to make sure every low-income family can pay their rent. It ensures families don’t have to pay more than 30 percent of their income to keep a roof over their head. Making up the difference between what rent costs and what a family can pay from their income helps people stay in communities they love and move toward long-term success. When rent is more manageable, budgets stretch further so kids get new crayons and clothes that fit, seniors can afford life-saving medications, and the car can get fixed when it breaks down.

When people can afford their rent, the vitality of our towns and cities grows. Helping people stay in communities they love is a win for employers, schools, places of worship, local government – the very fabric of our state.

In early 2020, Rep. Michael Howard and Sen. Kari Dziedzic introduced HF3205/SF3394 and did not receive a hearing because of the pandemic, but look forward to a hearing in the 2021 legislative session. Beacon and fellow advocates will continue the push to make Bring It Home, MN a reality.

For more information contact: Ben Helvick Anderson, Director of Public Policy at 612.760.3129

View the full one pager here. 

Learn more how the rental crisis impacts families. 

*Source: The U.S. Census Pulse Survey started collecting weekly survey data across the country to map the experiences of Americans during the pandemic regarding health, economics, and housing. While not the perfect tool, the survey results provide a good model to track total changes over time and impacts to certain populations.
***For the question of “how confident are you about paying next month’s rent?” the U.S. Census survey allowed the responses slight/moderate/high confidence, and payment is/will be deferred. We categorize those responses into two groups and define households as “low confidence” about upcoming payments if they reported no or slight confidence or if they anticipated deferring, or had already deferred, next month’s payment.
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