Housing

Minneapolis increases affordable housing funding by $4 million

A woman stands at a podium
Minneapolis city leaders announced $5 million in annual funding for public housing on Thursday. The press conference was held outside a pair of buildings in south Minneapolis that the MPHA is converting from duplexes to six-unit structures.
Estelle Timar-Wilcox | MPR News

Minneapolis is increasing its funding for affordable housing in the next budget cycle.

Mayor Jacob Frey announced Thursday that the city has agreed to give the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) $5 million annually for property improvements and expansions — an increase over current annual amount of $1 million.  

The funding will go towards renovations on current lots, like ventilation and cooling systems in high-rise apartments, elevator updates, and enhancements to resident community spaces. The MPHA also plans to expand some of its current buildings to add more units.  

“Families in our public housing stock will benefit,” Frey said. “People that are presently on a long line waiting to get public housing in our city will benefit, and we'll be able to reduce that line that now numbers in the thousands.”  

MPHA Executive Director Abdi Warsame said the funding will help the agency catch up on overdue upgrades to its properties.  

Frey and Warsame praised the steps that the city has taken already to make housing more affordable, including the elimination of single-family zoning and the addition of apartments. Bloomberg reported this week that Minneapolis’ inflation rates are low compared to other metro areas, crediting it to the availability of affordable housing.  

But city officials say there’s a lot of work to do for the city’s public housing, and not enough funding to do it. They blamed the shortfall on the federal government.  

Warsame said the MPHA only gets about 10 percent of what it needs for improvements on public housing from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

“Every year, the agency is forced to choose band-aid options to triage leaky roofs, replace old drafty windows, or improve decades-old electrical and plumbing systems, instead of taking a more comprehensive solution,” Warsame said.  

HUD contributed $20 million to the MPHA’s capital funding in 2022.  

Warsame said the consistency of the annual funding will help the MPHA catch up on the backlog of work that needs to be done.  

“This new money will deliver the agency certainty,” Warsame said. “Certainty the agency can use to leverage a variety of financial tools to make this funding go even further.” 

City council president Andrea Jenkins said she hopes the investment will prompt other jurisdictions to add funding to public housing. 

“This is a historic investment in housing, but this also is a call to action for other governmental entities including the federal government,” she said.  

Frey will present his full budget to the Minneapolis City Council on Aug. 15.  

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