Editorial: Eyes on affordable housing for working families

6 Apr 2018

New mayors in both of the Twin Cities have made clear that affordable housing ranks high among priorities for their administrations.

But what’s a mayor to do about a problem as big and complex as this one?

We asked two nonprofit housing experts — Paul Williams of Minneapolis-based Project for Pride in Living and Deidre Schmidt of St. Paul-based CommonBond Communities — and the perspectives they provide are compelling.

Both zero in on a key factor: “We have an income problem, particularly for lower- and moderate-income folks,” explains Williams. “Their incomes have not grown markedly in the last 15 years.”

At the same time, rents have increased, Schmidt observed. “Everyone’s losing ground, and that’s across all levels, so you can guess what the results are for people of the lowest incomes.”

Schmidt — whose agency describes itself as the upper Midwest’s largest nonprofit provider of affordable housing with services — goes on to note a “perfect storm of issues,” including that new housing production hasn’t kept up with the pace of population growth.

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