Affordable Housing & Rent Control
There’s a growing housing crisis in Minneapolis, and Ward 3 is at its epicenter. From rent hikes to unjust foreclosures, working people and young people are being priced out, while new luxury apartments and condos are affordable only to a few. A recent study found that for a median-income black family, there’s not a single Minneapolis neighborhood where housing is affordable. Section 8 waitlists can be endless, and slumlords use the lack of affordable housing to maximize their profits while keeping families in dangerous living conditions.
We need bold policies for a major expansion of affordable housing. Minnesota state Republicans and Trump’s White House are offering tax breaks to the billionaire class instead of funding affordable housing, and with Ben Carson in charge of HUD, Minneapolis must explore ways of taxing big business and the super-rich to build affordable homes. Big developers pretend housing is a simple issue of supply, but of the 5,600 rental units planned for the metro area in 2016, only 1/10 were slated to be affordable. Rents have increased 15% since 2009 while the vacancy rate has fallen by half. The “let the market handle it approach” isn’t working. I will be a powerful voice for tenants and working people in City Hall. My campaign is not for sale, and I pledge to accept no campaign contributions from big developers or corporate executives.
- Minneapolis needs rent control! Rent regulations are one of the best ways to stop out-of-control rent hikes. The city council should immediately pass a resolution demanding the state government remove the undemocratic state preemption law, and bring a legal challenge to it. Tenants, unions, and community organizations need to organize and build major protests in the state legislature to demand an end to the state ban.
- Tax big developers to fund affordable housing! Seattle and San Francisco have “linkage fees”, a tax on big developers and the super-rich to pay for high quality affordable housing.
- Build a public option. Instead of privatizing the existing public housing stock, like Glendale Townhomes, we should build thousands of high-quality, city-owned homes, rented at below-market rates. This can be financed by selling municipal bonds, taxing developers and making use of currently vacant city land.
- Minneapolis needs a Tenants’ Bill of Rights! Notorious slumlords like Stephen Frenz exploit the lack of affordable housing, raking in massive profits with substandard housing by banking on the fact that his tenants can’t find an alternative. Tenants should have six months’ advance notice of a major rent increase, rather than the 30 days currently legally required. Security deposits and move-in fees should be capped at no more than one month’s rent. Strengthen and support the efforts of renters’ organizers like Inquilinxs Unidxs who are fighting for more rights for renters in the Twin Cities.
- We need equitable zoning! Minneapolis should adjust its zoning regulations to plan for increased middle density housing, especially in strategic transit and transportation corridors. By ensuring that these units are high-quality, city-owned housing units, rented at below-market rates, Minneapolis can ensure increased affordable housing options. Remove antiquated ordinances like those not allowing more than three unrelated occupants to live in a single family home, and lift restrictions on cooperative housing. Every zoning change is an opportunity to require increased affordable housing through inclusionary zoning, which we should demand be built into the Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan.
- Mortgage relief for homeowners! Tens of thousands Minneapolis families have lost their homes to foreclosure since 2008. The city needs to stop dragging its feet and finally implement a principal reduction program for underwater homeowners to keep more families from losing their homes. Instead of property taxes on ordinary homeowners, we should pay for services by taxing mansions and millionaire developers