Reduce Affordable Housing Need in Three Steps

This is part 3 of a series on the interaction between the rental housing market and rents. Read part 1, “How I Set Apartment Rents,” and part 2, “Housing Markets? Humbug!“I’ve dedicated the last 15 years of my life working on affordable housing policy. Mostly, I’ve worked where some sort of subsidy helps make it (more) affordable.In this post, informed by what I’ve learned about the scope of our problem and the inadequacy of existing subsidy programs, I’ll share actions and policies that I think could ameliorate our affordable housing problems.It’s common knowledge we have an affordable housing problem. It might be surprising to learn just how bad the problem is. Continue Reading

City ordinance could increase fees for owners of third-tier properties

Minneapolis wants compliance from landlords with high-maintenance properties.The Minneapolis City Council is considering an ordinance this spring that could charge landlords with high-maintenance properties more to keep their licenses.Property owners say if the measure passes, they may have to increase tenants’ rent. The goal of the proposed ordinance is to charge rental property owners for the amount of time and resources they use from the city. The city’s Director of Regulatory Services Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde said the proposal would give property owners an economic incentive to take better care of their properties.City Council President Barb Johnson announced the proposal last month, and the council will hold a public hearing on the ordinance in April. Minneapolis rental properties are categorized into three tiers. The first tier comprises the city’s least complained about and inspected properties –the third tier are the most.Third-tier properties account for about 5 percent of Minneapolis properties, but Johnson said they require more of the department’s resources than those in the first or second tier. Continue Reading

An Orthy Adversary: The Battle of Orth House, as told by a local internet junkie

I spend too much time on the internet. The internet has lots to offer for every noble desire and depravity imaginable. A lot of what it has to offer is a respite from boredom. Waiting in lines, waiting through commercials, waiting for something to happen at work. All that waiting has a tendency to make me crave drama and conflict.I’d say one of my favorite pastimes is watching people lose their shit and turn into nasty, ugly jerks over disagreements. Continue Reading

158 lives gone, homeless, but remembered

The 30th Annual Minnesota Homeless March and Memorial began with a solemn ceremony in the frigid Minnesota winter at Hennepin County Government Plaza, continued with a march down Nicollet Mall, ending at Simpson United Methodist Church at 28th Street and First Avenue in south Minneapolis. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges participated in the Government Center ceremony surrounded by several hundred gathered to honor the 158 homeless who died this past year, many of them alone.

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A few questions the planning commission should ask about TOD at Hiawatha and Lake

In early December, Hennepin County and L&H Station (“the development team”) submitted plans for the development of L&H Station at 2225 East Lake Street, at the southwest quadrant of Lake Street and Hiawatha, a six-acre site immediately adjacent to the Lake Street station of the Blue Line. Below is the ground level plan submitted. In the context of the years of planning that led up to this submittal, and posts of my own, the following are a few questions I think the Planning Commission should ask. Continue Reading