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Summary of Recommendations - April 27, 2010
The Central Corridor Affordable Housing Partnership (CCAHP) consists of a group of community organizations, individuals, and other stakeholders who gathered to meet monthly between late 2008 and early 2010 in order to identify strategies to promote affordable housing along Central Corridor.  The recommendations of CCAHP follow:

Our vision is that lower income transit-dependent households will be able to live within walking distance of the Central Corridor LRT line, that existing residents in the adjoining neighborhoods will be able to remain and not be displaced by rising housing costs and redevelopment, and that the community will have a voice in how their neighborhoods change.

Toward that vision, in summary, we recommend a series of strategies to ensure both new and preserved affordable housing along the Corridor (as part of a mix of housing serving all income groups), both rental and ownership:

  1. According to the Metropolitan Councilís housing goals for St. Paul, 37% of new housing units built should be affordable to meet the needs of the cityís anticipated new households.  This should also be the cityís goal, at a minimum, for the share of new affordable units along Central Corridor.

  2. Current city policy defines affordable for rental units as housing serving households at various income levels ranging from 60% Area Median Income (AMI) to 30% AMI, and for ownership units, ranging from 80% AMI to 60% AMI.  Because the median income in St. Paul is so much lower than the AMI, a city policy which counts housing serving 60% AMI as affordable is effectively producing housing that is also unaffordable for all households in the city below 107% of St. Paulís median income.  The city should look for ways to revise this policy to reach more extremely low income households.

  3. Acquire land and property now and hold for future development as affordable housing before land values rise furtherĖ especially within walking distance (quarter mile) of LRT stops.  The City of St. Paul should declare this a priority, and other funders, such as Minnesota Housing using the LAAND program or other funds, or philanthropic funders, should respond.  The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul should also engage with the Twin Cities Community Land Bank to determine where and when it can play a role.

  4. Use strategic acquisition of foreclosed properties, particularly multi-family rental properties, applying affordability restrictions to expand or preserve affordable housing units along the corridor.  Cities should support non-profit acquisition to ensure long term affordability.  Cities and other affordable housing related entities should extend affordability restrictions beyond the minimal restriction periods provided for under NSP (federal Neighborhood Stablization Program) to as long a period as is feasible.

  5. Identify or expand resources for affordable housing production along Central Corridor.  Focus on underutilized funding sources.  Support transit corridor TIF legislation.  All affordable housing funding sources should include a priority for transit oriented development.  This includes funders at the federal, state, regional local and philanthropic level.

  6. St. Paul and Minneapolis should use zoning policies including density bonuses and/or inclusionary zoning, geared to transit oriented development and adjusted for market conditions, to promote housing affordability along the corridor.  Both cities should also review zoning and approval processes to ensure they do not unnecessarily drive up the costs of producing affordable housing.  Neighborhood planning organizations should be included in all discussions of possible zoning changes, especially if new permitted uses run counter to existing local small area plans.

  7. Provide adequate protections to low income homeowners (and renters where appropriate) not protected by current programs who may be threatened by displacement due to increases in property taxes from light rail development.  Advocates and public officials should determine whether such a program should function at the city, county or state level, and how it should be structured.

  8. Use land trusts, shared equity ownership, resale restrictions, mortgage controls and other tools to create or preserve long term affordability of housing along the corridor.  Provide incentives for rental property owners and homeowners to accept rent controls and limited resale options (such as the land trust model) through affordable rehabilitation loans and grants.  Neighborhood groups and community organizations should also consider community benefit agreements as a tool to engage developers in the right circumstances.

  9. If the cities act to remove or demolish affordable housing along the Corridor, such units should be replaced if needed to meet the current and future needs of residents living along the Corridor.

  10. Continue monitoring of subsidized properties at risk of conversion to market rate rents. (HPP)

  11. City staff from both St. Paul and Minneapolis, and other relevant agencies, should periodically meet with CCAHP and the larger community to report on city activities related to these recommendations.

  12. Engage neighborhood planning organizations in reviewing these proposed strategies and in considering possible locations in each neighborhood for new affordable housing.

  13. Because housing strategies need to be coordinated with the larger community vision for Central Corridor, these recommendations should become part of the Community Agreement(s) Coordinating Committee Process.

We, the undersigned members of the CCAHP, support these strategies and commit to working for their implementation.

Community Stabilization Project (CSP)
Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation (GMHC)
Housing Preservation Project (HPP)
Jewish Community Action (JCA)