Affordable housing investment nearly doubles

Date: Monday, March 2, 2020

Metro area cities can apply for $24.5 million available in 2020 through the Metropolitan Council’s Livable Communities Fund. That includes an expansion of the funds targeted specifically to preserve and expand affordable housing, from $2.5 million last year to $4.5 million in 2020.

Applicants must enroll in the Livable Communities Program, created in 1995 to promote livability, housing choices and affordability, jobs, tax base, and local economic development.

Livable Communities funding supports local projects that:

  • Clean up polluted land for redevelopment

  • Preserve and expand affordable housing

  • Incorporate mixed-use design that helps connect people to places and makes efficient use of land and infrastructure

  • Encourage transit-oriented development around transit stations

Met Council funding leverages significant additional investment

Multi-story building with a courtyard.“The funds that the council awards are a significant and important financial tool to influence and affect development,” said Charlie Zelle, council chair. “The real value, however, is the additional public, nonprofit, and private dollars that the Livable Communities Fund leverages for investment.

“Equally as important is collaboration,” said Zelle. “It takes partnership and all sectors working together to see these projects through. Though the funds are directed to local governments, the region benefits when development and redevelopment enhance quality of life and promote economic activity.”

“The increased funding for affordable housing will allow us to assist more communities who want to invest in prosperity and livability,” said Lisa Barajas, council director of community development. “The need is far greater, but any and all additional resources are critical in helping to produce and preserve homes for more low-income residents, who are our friends, our families, and neighbors.”

Strong results of Livable Communities funding

To date, the council has awarded more than $400 million in Livable Communities funds to help clean up about 2,000 acres of polluted land; create or retain about 50,000 full- and part-time jobs; build or rehabilitate more than 49,000 market-rate and affordable homes; increase the net tax capacity by more than $132 million; and leverage billions in additional public and private investment.

Funding applications are evaluated and ranked

Livable Communities funding is competitive, meaning cities must apply and their project proposals are scored. Applications are reviewed by Met Council staff in some cases and by an advisory committee in others. Cities apply for funds from different accounts within the program with different application deadlines.

Diverse projects built in cities across the region

96 metro cities and towns participate in the Livable Communities Program and are eligible to apply for the funds. Examples of projects awarded funding last year:

  • Paravel/Castle Ridge, Eden Prairie: Mixed-income housing

  • RBC Gateway, Minneapolis: 36-story mixed-use tower with office space, a hotel, retail space, and condominiums

  • 4100 Edina, Edina: Redevelopment of the former Flyte Tyme Studios building into affordable housing

  • Main Street Rogers Downtown Redevelopment, Rogers: New development that includes commercial space, and workforce and senior housing at different levels of affordability

  • Twin Lake Station, Roseville: Affordable apartment buildings, including senior apartments

  • SpringBOX, Saint Paul: Transforming a vacant car dealership on University Avenue into a community arts center and public gathering space

Information on application deadlines and available funding

Livable Communities project profiles

Separate from the Livable Communities program, the Met Council committed $1 million toward the Minnesota Homeless Fund for 2020. The monies are targeted for capital costs for permanent affordable housing to provide shelter to people sleeping outside or in places not meant for human habitation.

Posted In: Communities, Housing

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