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MN Housing Task Force Names Six Goals

Baihly Warfield
Updated: August 21, 2018 07:11 PM

DULUTH, Minn. - Housing has been a priority in Duluth for a few years. In December 2017, Gov. Mark Dayton made it a statewide priority as well when he created a housing task force. 

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That task force revealed its final results today, and they were broken down into six goals: 

  1. Commit to homes as a priority
  2. Preserve the homes we have
  3. Build more homes
  4. Increase home stability
  5. Links homes and services
  6. Support and strengthen homeownership

Minnesota Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal said there needs to be a dedicated funding source for affordable homes in addition to the current available funding.

"If we're really going to bring partners from all sectors to the table, we need to create a broader and stronger public commitment to the urgent need for more homes that are more affordable for more Minnesotans," Tingerthal said. 

She said Minnesota is fortunate to still be a growing state, and more housing is needed to support that.

"We have to step up by about 10,000 more homes per year for the next five years," Tingerthal said. "We're currently building about 20,000 homes a year. And that simply is not enough."

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson was on the task force, and she said that housing needs to be seen as an infrastructure issue. She said Duluth could easily put $8 million directly into affordable housing if it was available.

According to Larson, a lack of variety is one of the city's biggest housing problems. 

"We are locked into apartments and single family houses in Duluth," Larson said. "We need more townhomes. I think we are a good site to do modular homes and to do other kinds of living styles. We could use more co-ops."

She said overall, it's a supply issue. About two weeks ago, the District Flats apartment complex opened near the Miller Hill Mall. It's market-rate, and according to its website, rent starts at about $1,200.

Larson said she understands that is not an affordable price point for everyone but that you can't expect a new building that requires a $1,500 rent to only charge $800.

"We need more in other affordability categories, and part of what we need to be able to build those is subsidies so that they can actually be permanently affordable," she said. 

As Gov. Dayton steps down and Minnesota's next governor is sworn in, it remains to be seen if the six goals will be carried through to the next administration. 

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Baihly Warfield

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