Met Council action expands affordable housing choices

Date: Friday, February 16, 2024

Metropolitan Council action in February expands affordable housing choices for households earning 50% of area median income or less in five suburban metro communities.

Met Council awarded a total of 32 project-based housing vouchers to two existing and three new construction developments in the cities of Anoka, Brooklyn Center, Carver, Maple Grove, and Maplewood. The housing includes supportive services, and often includes partnerships between communities and nonprofit organizations.

An artist rendering of new apartment complexes on a large, tree-lined lot.Of the 32 vouchers, 20 are designated for units available to any eligible households experiencing homelessness (mainstream vouchers), and 12 are targeted to veterans experiencing homelessness.

“The region has a large need for more affordable housing, especially for households with the lowest incomes,” said Terri Smith, director of the Met Council’s housing and redevelopment authority, Metro HRA. “These federally subsidized vouchers are going to quality housing projects that include a range of household sizes and incomes. The housing is connected to or near jobs, schools, retail, and recreation.”

Vouchers go to projects across the region

Met Council awarded vouchers to the following existing and proposed developments. These will be added to the 50+ developments around the region that Metro HRA currently has contracts with to provide 978 project-based voucher units.

Nolte River Place, Anoka. This 80-unit senior (age 55+) affordable housing development was completed in 2023. It has an onsite tenant services coordinator and offers a continuum of care. It is one block from a local bus route and just one-quarter mile from downtown Anoka. Met Council awarded the project with five veterans housing vouchers.

Project for Pride in Living BC Family Housing, Brooklyn Center. This proposed 60-unit supportive housing project will have units between zero and four bedrooms. Project for Pride in Living is partnering with Phumulani, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to preventing domestic violence and sexual abuse in communities of color. The housing will be located within a half mile of a major transit station, and within walking distance of parks, retail, and a library. Met Council awarded the project with five mainstream vouchers.

An artist rendering of a new apartment complex. Trees and flowers line the front of the building.Carver Oaks Senior Residence.  A proposed 43-unit senior (age 55+) housing project with one- and two-bedroom units.  Carver County Community Development Authority will manage the property and provide a resident services coordinator. The site is within two blocks of the Carver Transit Station and planned pedestrian and bike routes. Met Council awarded the project with seven veterans housing vouchers.

Bottineau Ridge Phase II, Maple Grove. This existing 50-unit building was completed in 2019. It is a mix of one- to four-bedroom units. The Salvation Army will provide supportive services. The site is located within a half mile of a park, library, retail, and grocery stores. Met Council awarded the project with five mainstream vouchers.

Gladstone Crossing, Maplewood. Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative proposed this 40-unit family supportive housing project. It will contain two-, three-, and four-bedroom units. The nonprofit Solid Ground will provide onsite supportive services. The site is within walking distance of schools, transit, parks, and trails. Met Council awarded the project with 10 mainstream vouchers to support the three- and four-bedroom units for young families experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Met Council issued its request for proposals (RFP) last year, and selected the projects based on seven criteria, including project readiness, contribution to the full range of affordable housing types, and the integration of supportive services for specialized populations. Metro HRA coordinated with Minnesota Housing to maximize funding opportunities for proposers.

Majority of vouchers allow tenant to choose a unit

Project-based vouchers tie the federal rental assistance directly to a specific unit. Approximately 15% of Metro HRA’s total voucher allocation is being used for project-based vouchers.

These differ from the traditional tenant-based housing choice voucher, which is connected to an eligible household. If a private property owner or landlord accepts rental assistance, the tenant can move with their voucher rental assistance wherever they choose, within established rent guidelines.

The waiting list for tenant-based vouchers was last opened in 2022, and 2,000 applicants were randomly selected and placed on the list. Metro HRA sees an average of about 550 vouchers turn over to new households each year.

Metro HRA is the largest administrator of the federal Housing Choice Voucher program, also known as Section 8, in Minnesota. We administer nearly 7,300 vouchers in nearly 100 communities in Anoka, Carver, and most of suburban Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

Posted In: Housing

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