By Donna Kimura
The Minneapolis-St. Paul area is taking a stand to stem the loss of affordable housing.
In an initiative that’s the first of its kind in the region, officials have launched a fund that seeks to preserve 2,000 unsubsidized affordable rental homes in the Twin Cities.
The Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) Impact Fund hopes to begin acquiring properties by the end of the year. It recently took a big step forward when Hennepin County agreed to invest $3 million in the fund, which seeks to raise $50 million in two phases.
“It’s cheaper to preserve affordable housing than it is to create it,” says county Commissioner Jan Callison. “For our clients who are using county services, housing is fundamental. Unless they have stable housing, it’s very hard to work on some of the other issues they may bring whether that’s chemical dependency or unemployment or a need for other services. We know that we need to have our people stably housed if they’re going to improve the conditions of their lives. It just makes more sense to preserve the housing that’s already in existence.”