Housing indicators do not look very good, according to a recent Wilder Research report by Craig Helmstetter:
· An increase in the proportion of people paying 30% or more of their income on housing. Events of the past few months will probably push this up further.
· Rents on the increase; vacancy rates down.
· An upward trend in the number of families served in emergency shelters, especially in Hennepin County.
· One of the worst rates in the country here in the Twin Cities for the homeownership gap, that is, the difference between Whites and Persons Of Color in rates of homeownership.
Housing stability, education, the ability to obtain employment and perform well in a job – all of these relate to one another. In the interest of building a strong region, we need to view housing issues as not just a pressing current challenge to overcome, but as a threat to our future.
Solutions need to be comprehensive, visionary, creative, and linked to overall efforts to maintain the strength of our region. In the short term, we cannot avoid the fact that more families and individuals will need shelter; let’s work on that. However, more importantly, we need to address the long term – how can we push the indicators mentioned above in a positive direction?
I encourage you to read the report, “Affordable Housing for Low Income Families,” in the “New Releases” section of the Wilder Research web site. We at Wilder Research look forward to working on long-term solutions.