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- Written by Brian Muhs
MHP is pleased to share our recently released report, Market Watch: Northland Region. In this research report, MHP, in partnership with Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, tracks key trends in the unsubsidized multi-family rental markets of the Northland (Arrowhead) Region.
Building on its 2016 "Sold Out" report, MHP launched a new research series, Market Watch, tracking key trends in the unsubsidized multifamily rental markets across the state. Market Watch: Northland Region, the seventh report of the series, analyzes data for 6,449 unsubsidized rental units in properties with four or more units in the Northland Region from the CoStar database.
“The City of Duluth has made affordable housing a top priority for quite some time,” said Duluth Mayor Emily Larson. “The Northland Market Watch report provides an important and timely update regarding housing needs in Duluth and northern Minnesota. The City continues to find ways to create new affordable housing units and to seek innovation in housing development so that everyone has an affordable and safe place to call home.”
Daryl Olson, Director of Programming at American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO), who contributed to the report, says, “There is a lack of affordable housing here, even before the housing crisis from the pandemic. There is not enough housing, much less affordable housing. We’ve had barriers to accessing housing that are now compounded, heightened by the pandemic.”
“This is a well-researched and instructive report that documents that Duluth’s NOAH housing stock is largely older, has fewer units, is more affordable, and is in greater need of major repair, preservation or replacement than many of the NOAH properties throughout Minnesota,” according to Pam Kramer, Executive Director of LISC Duluth. She continues, “It also highlights the need to both upgrade and preserve affordability of NOAH units, as well as increase employment opportunities and income supports especially for cost-burdened renter households. MHP’s report will be a helpful resource as we pursue shared strategies and increased funding to preserve and develop much needed quality, affordable housing. “
Market Watch: Northland Region’s key findings include:
- Though the Northland region spans seven counties, NOAH Properties are largely clustered in Duluth and parts of the Iron Range.
- Vacancies have dropped in eight out of ten cities with the most NOAH, thus constricting supply of available affordable rental homes.
- Multifamily, market rate homes in the Northland region are some of the oldest in the state, with over one third older than 100 years. Aging housing is more vulnerable to repair concerns and may need significant reinvestment to be maintained as healthy, safe homes.
- Renter income is lower than the state average in every county in the Northland.
- Market-rate new construction in the region has been consistently minimal in the past twenty years further compounding access to affordable housing.
The full report can be accessed at www.mhponline.org/publications.
- Written by Andy Birkey
MHP Executive Director Anne Mavity has been named to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) Board of Directors.
“NLIHC is doing impactful and critically needed policy advocacy and research, and I’m honored to join the NLIHC Board,” Mavity said. “This is a critical time of opportunity, when the spotlight is on housing and how essential it is that everyone has a home to maintain health, educate their children, keep our elders safe. NLIHC is well-positioned to offer concrete solutions to address these long-standing challenges in ensuring everyone has a home.”
Here's NLIHC's full press release on the new board member appointments:
NLIHC Announces Four New Board Members: Staci Berger, Colleen Echohawk, Anne Mavity and Sharon Vogel
WASHINGTON, DC– The National Low Income Coalition (NLIHC) announces the appointment of four new members to the NLIHC Board of Directors: Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey President and CEO Staci Berger; Chief Seattle Club Executive Director Colleen Echohawk; Minnesota Housing Partnership Executive Director Anne Mavity; and Cheyenne River Housing Authority Executive Director Sharon Vogel.
Staci Berger has served as president and CEO of Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, an NLIHC state partner, since 2013. Ms. Berger directs this statewide association of over 270 community-based organizations and individuals, created in 1989 to enhance the efforts of these groups to create affordable housing and revitalize their communities, and to improve the climate for community development in New Jersey. “The last year has presented incredible challenges for the community development sector and the people and communities we serve,” said Ms. Berger. “NLIHC has been an invaluable partner and ally in promoting policies that keep the most vulnerable individuals healthy and safe in a home they can afford all across the nation. NLIHC has been an incomparable resource and incredible partner in our efforts to make NJ a place everyone can afford to call home. It is an honor and privilege to serve on the NLIHC Board of Directors.”
Colleen Echohawk is citizen of the Pawnee Nation and is the executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, a Native-led organization in Seattle providing services and housing to Indigenous people experiencing homeless. She is also the founder of the National Coalition to End Urban Indigenous Homelessness. Recognizing a lack of equity in housing design and development, and the profound impact it has on the well-being of people of color, Ms. Echohawk began advocating for equitable low-income housing development and indigenous-led design. “I’m honored to be serving as a board member for NLIHC,” said Ms. Echohawk. “I believe my experience serving the Indigenous community will be of great importance as we advocate for affordable, equitable housing for all communities.”
Anne Mavity joined the Minnesota Housing Partnership, an NLIHC state partner, as its executive director in 2017. Ms. Mavity has over thirty years of experience in advancing and creating affordable housing, capacity building and community development. She has worked on a congressional subcommittee on housing, provided technical assistance and underwriting at CSH creating permanent supportive housing policies and projects, and led affordable housing development and organizing for Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative. “NLIHC is doing impactful and critically needed policy advocacy and research, and I’m honored to join the NLIHC Board,” said Ms. Mavity. “This is a critical time of opportunity, when the spotlight is on housing and how essential it is that everyone has a home to maintain health, educate their children, keep our elders safe. NLIHC is well-positioned to offer concrete solutions to address these long-standing challenges in ensuring everyone has a home.”
Sharon Vogel is the executive director of the Cheyenne River Housing Authority on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. Home to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Reservation is located in north-central South Dakota. Mrs. Vogel has dedicated her professional career to working with and for tribal members, many of whom were and continue to be disenfranchised families. Beginning her career in tribal government services, she has worked for the last nineteen years in the Indian Housing field. Mrs. Vogel is a recognized leader in Indian Housing on the regional and national levels. “I am honored to serve on the NLIHC Board of Directors,” said Ms. Vogel. “I am looking forward to working with this amazing group of individuals who are committed to providing safe and affordable housing opportunities for families throughout this country. I have followed the work of the NLIHC for the past ten years and have been so impressed with their inclusive leadership. I appreciate their commitment to diversity and collaborative efforts to advance shared goals of our membership.”
“I am so pleased to welcome Staci, Colleen, Ann, and Sharon to the NLIHC Board,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “Each brings invaluable perspectives and years of leadership and experience advocating for affordable and decent homes for those with the lowest incomes. Their exceptional leadership builds on the outstanding expertise of those already serving on the NLIHC Board. I look forward to working with them and the rest of NLIHC’s Board leaders in continuing to advance socially just policies to ensure decent, safe, accessible, and affordable homes for those with the greatest needs.”
- Written by Andy Birkey
Omnibus, omnibus! With the third deadline looming April 9 for committees to act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills, many omnibus bills have passed out of committees this week, with more to come. An omnibus bill packages several smaller bills into one bill; it can include appropriations and policy items. Each committee will need to stay within the budget target that has been set by leadership. MHP session priorities remain in play, including funding for NOAH properties, 4d property tax enhancements, source of income protections, Local Housing Trust Fund state match, and more. See MHP’s list of policy priorities here.
- House Housing Finance and Policy committee approved its bill on party lines on April 7, with appropriations increases totaling $30 million. An overview from Session Daily is here; a spreadsheet showing bill impacts is here. Some highlights include:
- $6.5 million for the preservation and rehabilitation of inexpensive multiunit rental housing that does not receive federal subsidies (NOAH properties);
- $3 million in grants for local housing trust funds, out of which local governments award grants for housing development, rental assistance and more;
- Policy creating an opportunity to purchase for residents of manufactured home parks;
- Eviction reform policy, including changes to the eviction expungement process.
- Ensuring Tribes are eligible recipients of capacity building grants.
- Senate Housing Finance and Policy has revealed its bill with plans for a vote on April 8. A spreadsheet for SF969 is here, and summary is here. Highlights include:
- $3.2 million for the workforce homeownership program;
- $1.5 million for manufactured home park infrastructure grants;
- ($2.0 million) reduction to the Challenge program;
- Inclusion of an evictions moratorium phaseout.
- House Taxes: The House Taxes Committee will likely see a vote on Thursday April 8. An overview of the bill’s highlights is here. Housing specific provisions include:
- appropriates $15 million annually from the proceeds of the mortgage registry and deed taxes to the commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency for transfer into the workforce and affordable homeownership development account;
- a new homelessness prevention fund would provide $25 million in annual aid to counties beginning in fiscal year 2023;
- requires the commissioner of revenue, in consultation with Minnesota Housing, to produce a report on class 4d property and on local 4d affordable housing programs, including an analysis of the impact of reducing the classification rate of the first-tier of 4d property to 0.25 percent, by January 15, 2022;
- Provides special tax increment financing authority to the cities of Fridley, Minnetonka, Richfield, and St Louis Park for affordable housing purposes; for Minnetonka, Richfield, and St Louis Park authority includes the transfer of some portion of increment generated from districts to each city’s affordable housing trust fund;
- Increases to the renter’s credit, including increase to the maximum credit and increasing the income cap to $64,300 (by $3,000).
- House Judiciary, Finance and Civil law: The House Judiciary Committee approved its omnibus bill which included source of income protections, protecting renters from discrimination based on paying the rent with rental assistance.
- Written by Andy Birkey
At Minnesota Housing Partnership’s Investors Council virtual breakfast meeting on March 25, 2021, Anne Mavity, Executive Director of MHP, welcomed a dynamic presentation and panel to address the topic of “Prosperity for All: The Role of Housing.” Specifically, Mavity asked ”How do we move beyond business as usual towards more bold and equitable outcomes, to create a more equitable housing market?”
“We are in a moment of enormous challenges, but also in a moment of enormous opportunity,” she said.
Each speaker addressed the opportunity and the question posed by Mavity. Introductory remarks were provided by Minnesota Housing Commissioner, Jennifer Ho. A keynote address was provided by Gary Cunningham, President & CEO of Prosperity Now and he was then joined by panelists Vihar Sheth, Senior Vice President & Director of Business Development – Equity & Affordable Housing for U.S. Bank and Nawal Noor, Founder & CEO of Noor Companies.
Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho started by sharing the bold and equitable solutions generated by State of Minnesota and the Federal Government. The Agency has worked on the Qualified Allocation Plan by shifting points and updating language, and they have seen it play out by giving more points to applications submitted by black, indigenous, and people of color, as well as women. Minnesota Housing has brought in equity experts for their Leadership team to help them think about how they do the work and ask important questions about equity as they design new stimulus programs.
The Agency also has policy bills on the table around Tenants Rights, which Commissioner Ho described as, “kind of a new space for the Agency,” with the firm belief that there should not be discrimination based on source of income and that there should be a slightly longer process for evictions. Moreover, there should be time given to people to access the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
Finally, at the federal level, Commissioner Ho is optimistic about the position of Senator Tina Smith as the Chair of a key Senate Banking Subcommittee that oversees important aspects of the nation’s housing, transportation and community development policies.
Next, Mavity introduced keynote speaker, Gary Cunningham, President & CEO of Prosperity Now, located in Washington, D.C. He provided the audience with grounding in the lens of racial homeownership disparities and cost-burden disparity statistics, as well as the importance of homeownership in an asset building framework. He also proposed some bold solutions and policy recommendations to expand affordable housing:
- Reinstate the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule
- Expand Housing Choice Vouchers to Fully Meet the Need
- Expand and Leverage Existing Public Resources to Further Encourage the Development of Affordable Housing
- Reform Existing Upside-down Housing Tax Incentives
Cunningham also highlighted that Prosperity Now has specific federal policy proposals that will shift the current housing policy that would make housing a right, not just a privilege. Prosperity Now’s Pathway to Housing for All includes a pathway from supporting renters to supporting homeownership.
- Phase 1: Low-Income Renters’ Credit
- Phase 2: Downpayment-Builder Matched Savings Program
- Phase 3: First-Timer Homeowners’ Credit
- Phase 4: Homeowners Post-Purchase Tax Credit
Next, in response to Cunningham’s remarks, Vihar Sheth, Senior Vice President & Director of Business Development – Equity & Affordable Housing at U.S. Bank, provided an update on his work and the Bank’s bold solutions. Specifically, his team has been trying to re-orient business through an anti-racist lens based on a racial equity agenda they have recently developed.
Nawal Noor, Founder & CEO of Noor Companies, then delivered robust commentary on her background in the corporate arena and the affordable housing space, as well as her bold equity solutions.
Noor said that from her corporate background she learned the importance of action versus solely talking about the challenges of housing disparities.
“It takes partnerships and transparency,” Noor said.
She applauded Minnesota Housing for their work in revising their Qualified Allocation Plan. Noor also suggested that construction innovation needs to take place in terms of “partnerships between architects, funders, and builders in order to eliminate inefficiencies in the design, material selection, training, constructability of the project, and workforce development.”
“Those partnerships are so crucial to be able to change the trajectory of where we are today.”
The panel ended with a question distilled by Mavity from comments and questions posed by the Zoom audience of more 100 people.
“What are the tools, legislation, and structural changes that would be most impactful in moving the ball forward?” one audience member asked.
Vihar Sheth responded that the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program has become the “core element” of trying to solve all of our issues. He continued by saying that instead of throwing more resources at the program, we need to design modern programs to address old and new issues. Cunningham answered the question by stating that we need to re-imagine and re-design the Community Reinvestment Act and to think bigger and bolder about the solutions.
Cunningham closed by saying that, “Solutions that we had in the past won’t address the problems that we have today.”
To be part of these dynamic conversations, become a contributor or renew your contribution in the MHP Investors Council today!