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Report: Low-income families struggle to afford rental housing

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A report released Tuesday shows that many low-income Minnesota families are struggling to afford rental housing.

The report by the Minnesota Housing Partnership found that about half of the state's renters paid a larger share of their income than they could afford for housing in 2010, according to Housing and Urban Development guidelines.

Most Minnesota counties do not have enough affordable housing to provide shelter for extremely low-income people, Minnesota Housing Partnership Research and Outreach Manager Leigh Rosenberg told MPR's All Things Considered on Tuesday.

The report found that the median income of state renters, when including inflation, has declined in 74 of the state's 87 counties since 1999.

"It's a real sobering reminder to me of the kinds of situations that so many Minnesotans face, not just foreclosure and the limited construction of housing, there's also a problem of underemployment and unemployment," said Minnesota Housing Partnership Research and Outreach Manager Leigh Rosenberg.

Rosenberg said the housing shortage more drastically affects young people. The report found that the poverty rate for Minnesota children tops 10 percent in all but eight of the state's counties.

"Children developmentally really require a lot of stability," she said. "The problem of housing that sometimes cannot be afforded by parents is that families sometimes are forced to move frequently."

The report says that about half of all homeless Minnesotans are under the age of 21.