We have an affordable housing crisis in Minneapolis that our current elected leaders have not done enough to address. Tom believes that we need a multi-faceted approach to finally provide safe, stable housing for every Minneapolitan who needs it. The greatest enemy of affordable housing is a tight rental market. Current vacancy rates in Minneapolis are a paltry 3%. That means that until supply actually catches up to demand, we’ll never solve the problem.
Tom believes the following policies are a good start to solving this problem:
We need to do everything we can to guarantee that the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority remains funded. The MPHA currently controls over $1 billion in housing assets. With a hostile legislature and Donald Trump in the White House, we must ensure that this housing stock is fully protected or we will have hugely exacerbated the shortage.
Tom believes we need to place a greater emphasis on project-based assistance in new mixed income, affordable housing developments. Where traditional housing vouchers, like Section 8, enable renters to find affordable units on the open market, project-based assistance is tied to the unit itself. Tying assistance to a unit means we can have greater influence to ensure properties stay affordable. This also gives the city more options in developing affordable housing in every neighborhood.
Tom supports an inclusionary zoning policy. One such policy was enacted in Edina in 2015. Inclusionary Zoning requires that new developments of a certain size, receiving any government assistance, contain a portion of affordable units. This policy also provides incentives like relaxed parking requirements or limited tax abatements to developments that meet the requirements.
Tom is also committed to working with other mayors to lead on the creation of a metro-wide affordable housing initiative. The bottom line is that neither Minneapolis…nor any individual community…can solve this problem alone. If we build 500 units of affordable housing in Minneapolis, but 700 units in Richfield go to market-rate, we haven’t made the progress we need to make as a region. Minneapolis can be, and should be, a leader on this issue in the metropolitan area and at the State Legislature.
So why should you choose Tom Hoch on affordable housing?
Tom is the only candidate in the race for mayor who’s actually administered an affordable housing program. In his six years as the Deputy Executive Director of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, Tom fought in Washington to change the law and allow the designation of senior-specific housing. This change allowed MPHA to target programming to our most vulnerable seniors so they could stay in their homes longer, aging in place. These programs became a model for cities across the country and is still in place today.
Tom also secured the financing to support the Holman Consent Decree. This legal settlement brought $100 million back to Minnesota to establish the first, large scale metro-wide housing mobility program and led to the creation of Heritage Park. Tom oversaw the rehabilitation of the dozens of public housing high rises in our city and ensured that there was precedent-setting participation by W/MBE enterprises.