Category Archives: housing

Glendale residents want insulation, not blankets

Repairs now not later sign

Photo from Defend Glendale Facebook page

In a single November weekend, more than a hundred Glendale residents signed a petition setting out a vision for their community, and making two dozen specific demands for repairs and improvements. The petition is one more step in the ongoing dispute between Glendale residents (and their Prospect Park neighbors) and the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, which wants to sell off the public housing development to private developers. Continue reading

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Fighting to save Glendale housing in Minneapolis

The latest in the Glendale Public Housing battle: Minneapolis Public Housing Authority is organizing a resident council. That is, the landlord is organizing a tenant council, which is pretty much the same as the fox guarding the chicken coop.

According to Defend Glendale Townhomes, the notice of a Monday afternoon (December 14) meeting was delivered on Friday afternoon (December 11.) Monday’s meeting is set for 1 p.m., further disempowering every working resident of Glendale Townhomes. Continue reading

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Privatizing public housing in Minneapolis: the Glendale problems

With average apartment rent in the Twin Cities at a record-breaking $1018 a month, Minneapolis Public Housing plans to send 184 families out looking for new places to live. That’s just one of the problems with the Minneapolis plan to knock down Glendale public housing and replace it with 550 new units that will mostly rent for market rates. Continue reading

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Obamacare, fair housing and a little jiggery-pokery

image from Supreme Court website

image from Supreme Court website

Three cheers for SCOTUS! Well – two cheers today for the health care and fair housing decisions, and here’s hoping we can give the third cheer soon for a marriage equality decision. The Supreme Court of the United States again upheld Obamacare, and also issued a tremendously important fair housing decision that could have specific application to Twin Cities housing policies. Rightwing Justice Antonin Scalia is so mad he’s almost frothing at the mouth, saying the legislation should be called “SCOTUScare” and condemning the court for “interpretive jiggery-pokery.” Personally, I think that we could use a little more of that jiggery-pokery. Continue reading

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End homelessness with Housing First

We actually can solve homelessness. Projects from Utah to Washington, D.C. have shown that an approach called Housing First works. The Washington Post describes the idea as “a model so simple children could grasp it, so cost-effective fiscal hawks loved it, so socially progressive liberals praised it.” Continue reading

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In St. Paul: building a homeless shelter and making more people homeless

The Dorothy Day Center just launched a campaign to raise $40 million for a new homeless shelter, which should relieve some of the current elbow-to-elbow overcrowding. Ironically, at just about the same time, Como by the Lake apartments announced a move that may make more people homeless.

Ruben Rosario reported recently that the owners of the 99-apartment Como by the Lake complex notified elderly residents that they will end participation in subsidized Section 8 rentals. Residents of 57 of the 99 units currently use the project-based Section 8 federal rent subsidies.

Section 8 benefits both tenants and landlords, making housing affordable to low-income tenants and rentals profitable to landlords. A project-based Section 8 program offers subsidies to developers or owners of multi-family buildings to rent some or all of their units to eligible low-income tenants. These subsidies stay with the apartment. If a tenant leaves, they cannot use the subsidy in another apartment.

A second Section 8 program offers subsidies to tenants, who then have to find a landlord willing to rent to them. These subsidies are portable — they go with the tenant. Unfortunately, the individual Section 8 voucher program has a miles-long waiting list.

In a tight housing market, Como by the Lake can charge higher rents than allowed by Section 8 and make bigger profits. That leaves elderly and disabled tenants facing an expensive housing market, without the assistance they have had until now.

Maybe they can spend more money for higher rents if they eat one meal less per day. Or if they cut pills in half instead of taking the prescribed dosage. If they end up homeless, they can join the people jockeying for floor space at the crowded Dorothy Day Center in downtown St. Paul.

According to the Star Tribune, the elderly are a growing part of the homeless population:

“The campaign comes at a time when agencies across the Twin Cities are scrambling to handle a growing older homeless population. Staff at shelters in Hennepin and Ramsey counties say the age wave has hit and they are not equipped to handle it.”

The first phase of the Dorothy Day Center expansion will offer expanded emergency shelter, but it won’t be ready until some time in 2016. The second phase will include a Connection Center, to provide space for services such as the Veterans Administration, as well as four floors of permanent housing. That phase is planned for 2018. If you want to contribute, here’s the link.

Related post: End homelessness with Housing First

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Filed under housing, St. Paul Notes

Just saying no to affordable housing

UPDATED 3/18/2015 – Poor people belong in cities, not in suburbs, and definitely not in mine. Sleep in your car, on a sofa in your cousin’s house, under a bridge — anywhere but next door to me. These messages came across loud and clear in a spate of recent articles focused on housing for low-income people.

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