Gains in affordable housing construction, but not enough

Posted In: Communities, Housing, Planning
Date: 10/21/2016

The region saw the highest number of new affordable housing units built last year since 2011, and a 69% increase from 2014.
Carver Crossing in the City of Carver features 68 units of workforce housing affordable to households between 31%25 and 50%25 of area median income. Metropolitan Council awarded this project a $1.2 million Livable Communities Demonstration Account grant in 2015.According to a new Council MetroStats research report (pdf), the 1,309 new affordable units represents good progress, made possible by a 2014 infusion of $80 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds that the Legislature and Governor authorized, and contributions from the Minnesota Housing and other funding partners.
The increase in units, however, is in the context of a record low of new affordable housing units built the previous year—just 775 units in 2014. And, for every 10 new housing units added to the region’s housing supply in 2015, only one was affordable to a household earning 60% of area median income.
In 2015, 92% of affordable units were renter-occupied. More scarce were affordable single-family homes and townhomes.
“As the region continues to grow, so does the need for affordable housing,” said Libby Starling, the Council’s Manager of Regional Policy and Research.
“Between 2020 and 2030, the region will add 37,400 low- and moderate-income households that will need additional affordable housing. The need is compounded by the number of households that are paying more than half their income on housing continues to grow,” said Starling.

To be livable and competitive, Starling said, the region needs to provide residents and families with more housing choices.
It's worth noting that the data does not reflect net changes in the number of affordable units across the region— only new or added affordable units. As properties opt out of tax credits or other federal subsidies, or naturally occurring affordable housing costs increase beyond affordability limits, the Twin Cities region's new affordable housing production may not result in a net gain.

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Posted In: Communities, Housing, Planning

Tags: Housing, equity, affordable, construction.

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