Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced Monday that he hopes to quadruple the amount of money the city spends on affordable housing.
From the rooftop deck of the Blue Line Flats, an affordable housing complex in the city's Midtown neighborhood, Frey outlined a proposal for $50 million in affordable housing projects next year.
It's part of a larger statewide trend: city leaders across the state — in Winona, Rochester, Duluth and Minneapolis — have made affordable housing a top priority. Nearly half of all the state's renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent.
"I've met families whose lives have been upended, parents left to struggle to preserve a sense of dignity and standing in their community simply because housing was out of reach," Frey said. "I've also met with people who have told me having their own stable home has meant the world to them."
According to research from the Urban Institute, Minneapolis has the country's highest home-ownership disparity between white and black residents. Minnesota ranks fifth in the country, among all other states, by that same measure.
Frey said that he knows his proposal is a long shot: budgeting $50 million for affordable housing would be a historic move for the city. It will also have to compete with the mayor's other spending priorities when he draws up a budget proposal for the city later this summer. Even then, the city budget will be reviewed, debated and approved by Minneapolis' 13 council members.
The proposal comes from recommendations drafted by the mayor's task force on affordable housing, a group he convened last December. Monday's announcement was the first unveiling of the team's work, which included recommendations for improving access to affordable housing across Minneapolis, from creating and preserving more affordable housing to strengthening renter protections and encouraging home ownership, especially among people of color.