MICAH in the News and Related News

MICAH in the News

With hundreds wanting to comment on Ford plant redevelopment, hearing will continue next week
By Frederick Melo, fmelo@pioneerpress.com, Pioneer Press PUBLISHED: September 20, 2017 at 9:15 pm, UPDATED: September 20, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Whitney Clark, president of the Friends of the Mississippi River, said the Ford plant site in St. Paul needs more bluff-edge parkland. Housing activist John Slade likes the density but wants more affordable housing. Youth coach Kevin Cunningham said the city’s zoning plan “is essentially to drop a chunk of Manhattan — the isle of Manhattan — in St. Paul."

Noting that the Twin Cities are suffering apartment vacancy rates that are among the lowest in the nation, housing advocates said the city has mostly heard from homeowners in the area, as opposed to the silent majority of renters desperate for more housing construction. They noted the master plan envisions 20 percent of the housing — or up to 800 units — will be designated affordable housing for low- to middle-income residents earning 50 and 60 percent of area median income. They’d like to see that goal expand.

We like the density,” said Slade, speaking on behalf of the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing. “We think you should (offer) a ‘density bonus’ for affordable housing.”

Council member Dai Thao called for an additional 10 percent affordable housing to be targeted to the very poor, or residents earning no more than 30 percent of area median income.
Read complete article here.

MICAH Organizer, La Shella Sims, named to Environmental Justice Advisory Group for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency sent this bulletin at 09/06/2016 09:25 AM CDT

Settlement could alter how affordable housing is built throughout Twin Cities metro

By Peter Callaghan at MINNPOST 05/13/16

Somewhat quietly, the city councils of Minneapolis and St. Paul are approving a settlement of complaints that the two cities are violating federal fair housing law — an agreement that could result in broad changes to how the region builds affordable housing.

The Minneapolis City Council voted 10-2 Friday to approve the settlement of a legal complaint brought by the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH) alleging the cities failed to follow a federal requirement to “affirmatively further fair housing.” The requirement calls for governments that accept federal housing money to not only lessen factors that lead to segregated neighborhoods, but to take steps to foster integration more...

See also:
http://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-and-st-paul...   and

Farhio Khalif, MICAH board member and executive director of Voices of East African Women, along with other Muslim community leaders, met with law enforcement officials to discuss anxiety after terrorists attacks. 

Law enforcement officials and leaders of the Twin Cities Muslim community gathered Thursday to confront the anxiety that has arisen in the days following Tuesday’s terror attacks in Belgium and the high-profile rhetoric they have inspired

Plans for the meeting materialized shortly after Texas senator and GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz on Wednesday referenced Minneapolis’ Somali-American community as an example of where law enforcement efforts could be concentrated while doubling down on calls this week for authorities to be able to patrol Muslim communities. More here...

Hundreds of families could be forced out of Meadowbrook Manor in St. Louis Park

As upgrade begins, leaders and families prepare for change.
By John Reinan Star Tribune March 23, 2016 — 8:43pm

Hundreds of families could be forced out of affordable housing in St. Louis Park, as the new owner of one of the Twin Cities’ largest apartment complexes begins an upgrade of sprawling Meadowbrook Manor.

New lease agreements are going out to some 350 households, with rent increases of $100 to $125 a month. Residents must undergo a criminal record check and prove they have income of at least 2½ times the monthly rent. About two-thirds of the residents at the 551-unit complex are on month-to-month leases. More here....

US HUD Secretary Visits Minneapolis to Discuss Affordable Housing, Economic Opportunity with MICAH and other local leaders

KSTP Jennie Lissarrague 3/4/16

To quote Sue Watlov Phillips, MICAH Executive Director: Friday’s meeting, with HUD Secretary Castro, with Mayors across the metro area, County Commissioners, MHFA Commissioner, Philanthropic and Regional leaders, MICAH, people impacted by housing crisis and homelessness, and the Community, was an incredible experience of coming together as a community, listening to each other, agreeing to work together and address impediments to fair housing through mutually agreed upon strategies. 

Castro’s visit to Minneapolis is the latest stop on HUD’s Prosperity Playbook Community Tour, which kicked off in February in Kansas City, Missouri... 

“I’m very proud of a lot of the work that’s happening here in the Twin Cities and Minneapolis area, so today we’re going to talk about some of that and also how we can increase affordable housing communities throughout the area,” Castro said at the event.   

Hearing draws support, concern about $1.5 billion Bottineau light-rail project
By Janet Moore, Star Tribune January 20, 2016 — 5:39pm

About 100 people at a public hearing Tuesday evening had mostly positive things to say about the proposed $1.5 billion Blue Line (Bottineau) light-rail expansion, which would connect downtown Minneapolis to northern Twin Cities suburbs.

The hearing, held at the Central Library in Minneapolis by the Metropolitan Council, Hennepin County and its railroad authority, is part of a municipal consent process required by state law for light-rail projects. It’s essentially a review of the project’s critical design components, such as tracks, bridges, stations, roads and support structures.

MICAH Northeast Chapter Tour guides advocate for affordable housing

By Kristine Goodrich/Editor, White Bear Press, Dec 16, 2015

Community-built houses, rentals with long waiting lists, senior apartments under construction and a center for formerly homeless families were among the stops on a bus tour organized by a nonprofit affordable housing advocate. Members of Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH) took local leaders on a tour of affordable housing accomplishments in the White Bear area, shared data about the need for more affordable housing and asked the the attendees to support future local and state initiatives more...

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, Nov. 14-22, 2015, on News Northwest Community Television channel 12 http://www.twelve.tv/news/newsitem.aspx?newsid=324&newsitemid=29109

West Broadway Transit Study Engagement  videos

Video interviews of perspectives on the West Broadway Corridor and BRT and Streetcar.
MICAH Organizer La Shella Sims speaks in the eighth interview.

A lot of people believe the Twin Cities needs more affordable housing; a lot fewer agree on where to build it
By Peter Callaghan at MINNPOST 11/05/15 click here

Community Housing Conversation on October 30, 2015 with Congressman Ellison and HUD Secretary Castro
Click here for video. For an article by Eric Roper of the Star Tribune, click here.  

Suburban Integration and/or Neighborhood-Based Development? The Path Forward for Affordable Housing and Equitable Development

By Peter Callaghan at MINNPOST 11/05/15 By Craig at KFAI On-air date: Mon, 08/24/2015 (listen to program here. program starts 4:30 minutes into stream.)

Since the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s, two approaches to racial justice have competed for community support and financial resources. On the one hand, advocates for racial integration challenged the exclusion of African-Americans from neighborhoods, schools and employment opportunities. Citizens of all races and ethnic backgrounds, they argued, should be able to live in any community they choose. And along with choice of neighborhoods would come the social and economic benefits accorded whites.

Advocates of community control, on the other hand, believed that only by building up African American communities could genuine racial equity be achieved. These arguments had parallels in other ethnic and cultural communities, as well. Today, both advocates for housing integration and placed-based development see their approach as a way to reduce racial inequities and build a sturdy path out of poverty.

To explore where these paths converge—and perhaps at times diverge—Truth to Tell will feature a conversation with Sue Watlov Phillips, executive director of one of the region’s premier housing advocacy organizations, the Minnesota Interfaith Council of Affordable Housing. MICAH, as it is commonly known, has joined several inner-ring suburbs and Minneapolis community groups in legal complaints challenging policies that concentrate housing in high-poverty areas.

Also joining the discussion are Owen Duckworth, who works on the Equity in Place initiative as coalition organizer for the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, and Nelima Sitati Munene, who helped rebuild housing in North Minneapolis in the aftermath of the recent devastating tornado and continues to work on affordable housing issues in the northwest suburbs where she resides. Nelima also served on the Metropolitan Council’s Housing Policy Planning Work Group, which will influence housing development in the metro region for the next 25 years.

MICAH's Projects on TV 12 News

The Brooklyn Park Forum on Race, supported by MICAH, and The Bottineau Light Rail, which MICAH has worked on for several years, made the news on January 21, 2014. They are 3:18 and 4:20 minutes into the news clip at: http://twelve.tv/news/newsitem.aspx?newsid=1431&newsitemid=23494

Related News

Frequently Asked Questions about affordable housing, like: What is it? Here are the answers courtesy of the Minnesota Housing Partnership

Former Renters Settle Class-Action Lawsuit For $650,000

By Kirsten Swanson KSTP-TV October 19, 2017 10:39 PM
A class-action lawsuit, alleging housing discrimination by an apartment complex in Richfield, has been settled for $650,000. The complex was formally known as "Crossroads at Penn."

New management renamed the units when it took over in the fall of 2015.The rental units, owned by MSP Crossroads and Soderberg Apartment Specialists, came under fire in 2015 when they announced they would no longer accept federal Section 8 housing vouchers.

Complete article here http://kstp.com/news/richfield-apartment-complex-former-renters-settle-class-action-lawsuit/4640906/ .

With too many homeless and too few shelter beds, city funding policy debated
By Randy Furst Star Trib
une September 18, 2017 — 6:58am

De Andre Hudson got the bad news on a recent weekday evening when he called the homeless hot line at Simpson United Methodist Church, asking if the city had an open shelter bed. 

No luck. Every adult shelter bed in Minneapolis was filled, an advocate who was taking phone calls, told him. It meant another night spent riding the light rail back and forth between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Forty others like Hudson would also be denied. 

Complete article here.

Minnesota housing needs high-level attention
By Editorial Board, Star Tribune July 28, 2017 - 6:16 PM

From many quarters, evidence is accumulating that the availability and affordability of housing are not sufficient to keep Minnesota thriving. Consider: Housing for lower- and middle-income workers has been in short supply in greater Minnesota for so long that employers and city officials have become regulars at the State Capitol, seeking funds to spur construction of both discounted and market-rate homes.
Continued http://m.startribune.com/minnesota-housing-needs-h...

Dakota County churches respond to homelessness by opening their doors By Nick Ferraro January 23, 2017 in Pioneer Press.

As Minneapolis gentrifies, some of the last neighborhoods for the poor are now getting squeezed
By Adam Belz Star Tribune November 28, 2016 — 9:08am

DISPLACEMENT: The Gnawing Injustice at the Heart of the Housing Crises
What can we actually do about it?
Author: Dan Bertolet (@danbertolet) on August 10, 2016 at 6:30 am

$22 million makeover planned for Brooklyn Park's affordable housing
By Shannon Prather, Star Tribune, August 8, 2016 — 11:05pm

How the Other Fifth Lives, New York Times
Thomas B. Edsall, APRIL 27, 2016

With homelessness on the rise, Dakota County searches for solutions
Needs are rising despite a dip in statewide figures.

By Emma Nelson, Star Tribune April 23, 2016 — 6:14pm

Hennepin County puts money into effort to preserve 'naturally occurring' affordable housing
By Peter Callaghan, MINNPOST, 06/15/16, here

High housing costs are making life impossible for low-income families
By Laura Clawson,The Daily Kos, Saturday Apr 02, 2016 here

Affordable housing project at University and Victoria moves forward
By Frederick Melo Pioneer Press, April 13, 2016 here

Construction of affordable apartments will rise in Twin Cities, though still far short of demand
But number is still far short of metro-area demand, analysis says.
By Jim Buchta Star Tribune February 1, 2016 — 9:08pm here

On November 29, 2015, The Washington Post ran an editorial on the mortgage interest deduction, citing the National Low Income Housing Coalition's new report on the rarity of mortgages over $500,000 (just 5% of all mortgages nationwide) (see: http://nlihc.org/research/rare-occurrence), and supporting both lowering the portion of a mortgage eligible for tax relief down to $500K from $1 million and changing the deduction to a 15% tax credit. See editorial here

Dakota County team will help renters with troubled backgrounds find homes

What is the status of affordable housing in the Twin Cities? Read these...

Twin Cities suburbs need more affordable housing, Met Council says

Demolition paves way for Dorothy Day expansion http://www.twincities.com/news/ramsey%20county/ci_28655196/demolition-paves-way-for-dorothy-day-expansion

Met Council: More residents in poverty in suburbs than in urban core http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_28502377/me...

U.S. HUD secretary finds successes and questions in north Minneapolis tour http://www.startribune.com/u-s-hud-secretary-finds...

Twin Cities low-cost housing is drying up - especially in suburbs

Minnesota Housing Partnership Press Release on Rental Housing in the Twin Cities

Out of Reach Report- National Low Income Housing http://nlihc.org/oor/minnesota

Local agencies are scrambling to help elders who lack safety net
Star Tribune article by Jessie Van Berkel here.
Pioneer Press article "Twin Cities low-cost housing is drying up - especially in suburbs" By Bob Shaw here.

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