St. Paul City Council proposes steps to address housing problems in city

Apartment renovation
A St. Paul apartment is staged for an open house in November 2012.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR 2012

The St. Paul City Council passed a resolution last week proposing a set of steps to help solve housing problems in the growing city.

Council members unanimously passed what they described as a call for action "to create and preserve housing that is affordable at all income levels, address racial, social and economic disparities in housing, and create infrastructure needed to stabilize housing for all in Saint Paul."

The resolution includes a proposed down payment assistance program to help first-time home buyers, and an affordable housing trust fund to create new housing units, among other goals.

Ward 2 City Council member Rebecca Noecker said the city's current tight housing situation puts some people at a disadvantage.

"When housing vacancy rates are hovering at 2 percent, anybody with a criminal background, eviction history, credit problem, are out first," Noecker said. "Landlords can be super choosy."

Noecker noted that the Metropolitan Council projected the city will add 30,000 residents and some 13,000 households between 2020 and 2040.

"One of the problems we see is that we put a lot of money into affordable housing developments but then we can only keep those affordable for 30 years," Noecker said. "Then additional investments are needed to keep them affordable after that."

The council's resolution, passed on Wednesday, comes ahead of Mayor Melvin Carter's 2019 budget proposal next month.

Noecker said she is confident the mayor will support the ideas in the resolution.

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