Take 5 with MHP’s Rebeka Alemayehu

Rebeka Alemayehu joined MHP earlier this spring as a policy intern through the Capitol Pathways program! Rebeka sat down with us and answered our 5 questions:

Rebeka Alemayehu

Q1. What is your name and title?

My name is Rebeka Alemayehu (She/Her/Hers), and I am a part of the Capital Pathways program and have been chosen to work with the Minnesota Housing Partnership. 

Q2. What attracted you to working with MHP?

Last summer, I was a part of the Urban School program and got the opportunity to Intern at the Ward 9 office last Summer and Fall. One of Ward 9’s top priorities is housing, and during my time interning, I learned more about housing and homelessness. The experience I had during that time was a huge reason why I wanted to work with MHP, and I was so very excited to hear that I got matched back. MHP is all about working to create equitable housing through effective research-based solutions, and I want to be a part of the great change MHP is making in the community. 

Q3. What’s a challenge in the field of housing right now?

One challenge is zoning. There are zoning laws that are hindering more housing from being built. During this session, I got to spend time learning about the “missing middle” bill authored by  Rep. Alicia “Liish” Kozlowski, which is trying to help create more housing.  

Q4. Is there a book by your bed, and what is it?

SA book that I have just started reading is Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. This book is about the problems low-income renters face in Milwaukee. It is very eye-opening to read stories of people experiencing hardship and evictions.   

Q5. Who is your superhero? 

My Uncle is definitely one of my superheroes. He loves learning about politics and issues in our society and motivates me to do so as well. It’s a tradition to meet up once every couple of weeks and chat about all things politics. 

Look out for more Take 5 profiles coming soon!

Mid-Session Legislative Update

April 19 • 12:00pm – 1:00pm • Zoom

Thank you for attending our recent event, the Mid-Session Legislative Update. Thank you to our presenters Michael Dahl of HOME Line, and Alysen Nesse of Hylden Advocacy & Law. We were also thankful to be joined by lawmakers Minnesota House Housing Committee Chair Rep. Michael Howard (51A – DFL), and Senate Housing and Homelessness Prevention Committee Chair Sen. Lindsey Port (55 – DFL).

A recording of the event, slide deck, and chat questions are now available.

2024 State of the State’s Housing Profile with Key MN Findings and Trends

On March 14 2024, MHP released the 2024 State of the State’s Housing Profile with Key Minnesota Findings and Trends. This will be followed by profiles of the state’s legislative districts and regions. First produced in 2017, MHP’s State of the State’s Housing bi-yearly report contains statewide housing data providing an important baseline of the housing climate and its impacts on everyday Minnesotans.

When hard-working Minnesotans—from teachers and nurses to firefighters and waitresses—are struggling to keep up with rising housing costs in our community, you know there’s a problem. MHP’s statewide housing research shows that more than a quarter of Minnesota families, including half of all families who rent, pay more than they can afford for housing—and that number is growing.  

MHP’s State of the State’s Housing is used by members of the media and housing advocates to tell a more complete story of Minnesota’s housing challenges. When advocates and lawmakers are armed with this data-based information, we can attack Minnesota’s housing challenges head-on. Please view MHP’s 2024 State Housing Agenda for our recommended housing solutions. Now is the time for Minnesotans to come together and raise our voices for housing! Together, we can make sure our families and future generations of Minnesotans can live and thrive here by making stable housing affordable.

Revitalizing Minnesota: A Call for Statewide Land-Use and Zoning Reforms

Between August and October of 2023, Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) and Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota (Habitat MN) convened a diverse group of stakeholders to inform the policy recommendations for Minnesota’s land-use and zoning policies. These recommendations are outlined in this report. 

“Minnesotans want to live in a thriving community where everyone has an affordable place to live. Yet today our state needs to create more than 100,000 new homes to support our growing economy and families. Bold investments have been committed by state and local leaders and now we need policies that will allow our communities to create these new homes, that will remove regulatory barriers and reduce costs. Outdated land use policies and processes are limiting our ability to ensure that Minnesotans of all incomes have a place they can afford with strong schools and good jobs. We have an opportunity to do what other states across the country have already done to grow the supply of housing and bring housing costs within reach of Minnesotans.”

Anne Mavity, MHP Executive Director

In Revitalizing Minnesota, MHP and Habitat Minnesota outline their conclusions that:

1) Minnesota’s land-use and zoning policies are dated and contribute to today’s housing disparities; 2) Allowing for more homes to be built is essential to thriving lives and communities; and 3) Land-use and zoning reform must intentionally enable, incentivize, and expedite the creation of more missing middle and affordable homes.

Cristen Incitti, President and CEO of Habitat Minnesota says, “Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota is committed to advocating for racially equitable housing policy. We are motivated by a recognition of our collective responsibility, and the government’s responsibility, to undo the harmful effects of past and present land use policies that disadvantage Black, Indigenous and people of color. Paired with Minnesota’s historic investment in housing in 2023 and ongoing investments in home affordability, this is an opportunity to significantly increase the supply of housing and the ability of Minnesotans across the state to access to safe, stable, and affordable homes.”

The workgroup’s recommendations include allowing more homes on lots currently zoned for single-family, allow multifamily by-right in more areas, enact processes that balance the need for future growth and current residents, and incentivize affordable homes as part of allowing more flexibility and creativity in land use.

As Ben Horowitz, senior policy analyst at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve wrote in their November 2023 report, “Better land use and planning policies will reduce housing production costs. Economic theory, research, and anecdotal evidence predict that the resulting increase in supply would slow the growth of housing prices.” In 2023, the Minnesota legislature invested unprecedented funding in affordable and workforce housing. These investments can be maximized by eliminating restrictive growth policies and allowing more diverse housing options. Revitalizing Minnesota concludes that now is the moment for the Minnesota legislature to adopt and enforce modernized statewide land-use and zoning laws.

MHP’s Legislative Preview Event

Thank you to those who joined us on February 8th as we previewed Minnesota’s 2024 Legislative Session. Panelists Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL – 59B), Jeff Hayden, Sen. Karin Housley (R – 33), and Brian McDaniel granted us a wealth of insights and provided some predictions for new session set to kick off this week.

If you enjoyed this event and want to support MHP’s programming of research, advocacy, and community development, please make an individual contribution by clicking this link.

The legislative session preview panel addresses the attendees. From left: Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL – 59B), Jeff Hayden of Fredrikson & Byron P.A., Sen. Karin Housley (R – 33), Brian McDaniel of Hylden Advocacy & Law, and moderator Libby Murphy of MHP
From left: Melissa Taphorn of the Washington County CDA, Dan Smith of US Bank, and Anne Mavity of MHP.
From left: Beth Gendler of Jewish Community Action, and Paul Williams of PPL.

Building for the Future: Competitive Applications for HUD’s Green and Resilient Retrofit Program

On February 6th, MHP hosted a webinar, Building for the Future: Competitive Applications for HUD’s Green and Resilient Retrofit Program to provide information about HUD’s Green and Resilient Retrofit Program (GRRP) and explore what makes a successful GRRP application. A recording of the event, and slide deck are now available. See HUD’s recently updated GRRP landing page.

Housing Narrative Change Webinar 4: Putting Research into Practice

Thank you for participating in our virtual event on January 29th, Putting Research into Practice. This was the final installment in our four-part narrative change webinar series. All resources relating to the statewide housing narrative change project are available on MHP’s Narrative Change Project webpage.

In this webinar the Housing Narrative Lab provided message guidance and examples of how to use the findings from the research into your policies, campaigns, strategic communications, and content creation.

Download presentation slides.