Tag Archives: Section 8

More on Glendale in Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 11.55.54 AM.pngThe Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder asked me to report on the situation in Glendale Townhomes, the oldest public housing in Minnesota. That article — Mpls Public Housing residents fight redevelopment plan — is now published. In it, I present facts and opinions of the people directly involved in the process. I also have blogged extensively about the current dispute between Glendale residents and the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, and have been generally critical of the redevelopment option that MPHA initially proposed almost a year ago. You can find the blog posts here.  Continue reading

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Rich renters wanted — the rest of you can leave

You are where you live — or at least that’s the implication of common U.S. code words like “the wrong side of the tracks” and now the use of “Section 8” as a racial slur. Increasingly, poor people who have been priced out of housing are also being pushed out of rent-subsidized housing. A combination of racism and prejudice against poor people lead many private landlords to refuse to rent to people who use federal rental assistance, commonly known as Section 8 vouchers. At the same time, new federal policies encourage government agencies that own and manage low-income housing to turn it over to private developers. 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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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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