- Created: Friday, 14 October 2016 14:27
- Written by Carolyn Szczepanski
This month, MHP celebrated the six year anniversary of the Housing Institute with our partners at Greater Minnesota Housing Fund — and rural housing leaders from across the state. To mark the milestone, we examined the evolution, successes and impact of this transformative program in a new white paper: "Building Community Through Collaboration." Click here to download the full paper; keep reading for an excerpt on the impetus and structure of the Institute.
In many regions of rural Minnesota, there’s a significant gap between the supply of affordable housing and the number of people who need it. In 2010, the Minnesota Housing Partnership, with key support from the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF), created a new program to close that gap through collaboration and capacity building.
In just six years, the Housing Institute has proven a team-driven model can make all the difference in turning aspiration into action, and visions for community development into reality.
When the Housing Institute was launched in 2010, Minnesota was in the throes of the economic crisis. Like so many other states, it was hit with a wave of foreclosures and bankruptcies among developers. But that blow compounded challenges rural communities had faced for many years.
Rural areas already struggled with limited funding for rehabilitation of existing housing or the construction of new housing. Applying for state and federal funding, which includes complicated processes and regulations, was difficult for the small number of public servants who juggled many responsibilities. And, adding urgency to equation, many units of affordable housing built in the 1980s using federal funds were quickly reaching the end of their mortgage terms, opening the door to convert affordable units to market rate.
In response to these pressing factors, the Housing Institute was created to bring together housing leaders and stakeholders to share their experiences, learn best practices, and develop creative solutions to bring quality affordable housing to their communities.