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More Minnesotans Waiting for a "Place to Call Home"

May 8, 2007


Waiting lists for affordable housing in Minnesota are getting longer, according to a new report from the Minnesota Housing Partnership. Spokesman Chip Halbach says the report reveals a growing gap between supply and demand.

“There are 29,000 households across the state who are on the various lists that public agencies maintain for the 'Section 8' program.”

Housing agencies in Minnesota and nationwide are watching proposed federal legislation to reform the "Section 8" program, which would increase the number of rent subsidy vouchers to low-income families nationally by 100,000.

Halbach notes that it's ironic that, while home sales have slowed, demand for affordable rental housing is unmet. He believes the economics of the housing market aren't working for many working families.

“There are over 100,000 Minnesota households who are paying over half their income for rent. What's going on is that, over the past five to seven years, rents across the state have gone up much faster than the incomes of renters.”

Because of funding shortages and program cuts, many housing agencies have had to cut costs and services. And, according to Halbach that has made the housing squeeze even tighter for many families. He adds that housing has become too unaffordable for too many Minnesotans.

“On average, people who apply for 'Section 8' and receive the federal rent subsidy earn about $12,000 a year. And, that's way too low to pay rent in many communities.”

The report is available online at www.mhponline.org.

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN