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Creating More Affordable Housing In Minnesota
As is generally true around the country, in the Twin Cities metro area, the gap between the supply of affordable housing and the much larger population in need is large and widening.  To comply with the Minnesota Land Planning Act, the Metropolitan Council recently issued guidelines to all metro area cities on each cityís obligations to plan for its share of the local and regional need for affordable housing.  Each city will be required to take the affordable housing goal provided by the Met Council and then zone sufficient land in its 2008 comprehensive plan to permit the goal to be reached during the period 2010-2020.

In determining the total housing goals for the region, the Council had to balance citiesí legal obligations with the almost overwhelming size of the unmet need.  This may explain why the Council focused solely on units needed to meet just the increase in new low income households during the period 2010-2020, thus excluding both the current 170,000 low income households living in substandard or unaffordable housing, and the additional 20,000 inadequately housed families anticipated as of the end of the current decade.

Despite the fact the Councilís goals look highly modest compared to the need, achieving these goals will be a challenge for many cities.  This is due to several factors, but most notably because the region is unlikely to secure sufficient government housing subsidies to create all these affordable units.  HJC believes it is time to focus on the feasibility of strategies which may lead to more affordable housing without depending on public subsidies.  Watch this website in the coming months for more information.