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On January 27, Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh delivered the annual State of the Region address for the Council, entitled An Equitable Future for our Region. As housing a

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dvocates, we are excited that the Council has proposed updating its Housing Policy Plan for the first time in nearly 30 years, as outlined in its Thrive 2040 plan. A preliminary draft of the Thrive 2040 plan is now published for public review.

In her comments, Haigh listed housing as a top priority for the year, excerpted below:

"With the help of our partners, we must create real choices in housing for all our residents, across age, race and ethnicity, economic means, and ability.

In order to get better results in housing, we will partner with community organizations and local governments serving racially concentrated areas of poverty to spur development in our poorest neighborhoods, in part with Council resources. This development will bring about better opportunities for jobs and housing.

But better, more balanced neighborhoods won’t just come from development and redevelopment.
Increasingly, the Metropolitan Council will partner with nonprofits and schools because we know that lifting people out of poverty is a both-and proposition. Affordable housing AND a good job. Job training AND transit to that job. Good schools AND safe streets and parks."

The Thrive 2040 plan is organized by outcomes, reflecting the cross-disciplinary nature of many of our region's challenges.  The stated outcomes toward which the plan is working include Stewardship, Prosperity, Equity, Livability, and Sustainability. Housing is most directly addressed under the Equity outcome. Broad housing recommendations to achieve equity outcomes are to:

  • Invest in a mix of housing affordability along the region's transitways
  • Use public resources to catalyze investment in areas that have seen chronic private disinvestment – specifically including the concentrated and racially-concentrated areas of poverty identified through the Fair Housing and Equity Assessment
  • Expand choices in where we live for all our residents, across age, race and ethnicity, economic means, and ability

The Thrive 2040 public comment period (March and April 2014) will officially open once the Council finalizes a draft in late February 2014. The Council plans to adopt the final Thrive 2040 plan in May 2014.