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FirstEnergy first to abandon interim clean-energy goals for addressing climate change; the body of an 11-year-old Texas girl who disappeared on her way to school has been found in a river; and Indiana youth reported to be making progress despite challenges.

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The U.S. rejects a U.N. resolution on Israel-Gaza ceasefire, but proposes a different one. Some Democrats vote against Biden to protest his policy on Gaza and a California woman is being held in Russia.

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Drones over West Texas aim to improve rural healthcare, the Ogallala Aquifer, the backbone of High Plains agriculture, is slowly disappearing and federal money is headed to growers of wool and cotton.

Shortages persist, but low-income housing projects in MN are surfacing

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Thursday, October 12, 2023   

Estimates show Minnesota is short 100,000 housing units for low-income populations. To help meet demand, some poverty-fighting offices are playing a role in getting more projects off the ground.

The housing estimate is from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition.

Jenny Larson, executive director of Three Rivers Community Action in southeastern Minnesota, said their needs assessments consistently have housing at the top of the list. Her staff has teamed up with the city of Northfield and other partners on a new set of townhomes. With many people still priced out of the rental market, she pointed out the project aims to give low-to-moderate income applicants a much-needed option.

"This project really is meant to provide more family units that have price points -- rent levels -- that people can afford," Larson explained.

Larson added the 32 new townhomes were not just built with availability in mind. They were designed for ideal family livability, including being near parks and schools. She emphasized the housing industry and other stakeholders need to act with more urgency to spur additional development with demand showing no signs of slowing down.

Temporary housing is also getting priority. In northeastern Minnesota, the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency has refurbished a memory care facility to serve as a homeless shelter.

Angie Neal, housing director for the agency, said they've been turning at least 1,000 people away each year at other shelter locations and their new space gives people time to make an easier transition.

"Having a place where it's safe and our case managers are able to stay in contact with them is really helpful for when we're able to connect them to other services and to get them into housing," Neal stressed.

She noted when temperatures drop, the space will be vital so unhoused people will not be forced to stay with friends and family, potentially jeopardizing their housing situation if strict rental policies are involved.

Lori Schultz, executive director of the Minnesota Community Action Partnership, said additional state and federal funding would advance more much-needed developments.

"We've definitely moved the needle in this state," Schultz asserted. "Securing funding for new housing, but there are so many regions that continue to be unfunded."

Disclosure: The Minnesota Community Action Association Resource Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Early Childhood Education, Health Issues, Housing/Homelessness, and Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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