Affordability might be issue for Harrison apartments

By Matt M. Johnson - Finance & Commerce - July 25, 2019

The neighborhood association is concerned that the project will displace low-income residents in a transit-oriented location.

See article here.

A proposal for a 95-unit apartment building at 232 Humboldt Ave. N. would be the second new apartment building proposed for the neighborhood in the past couple of years. (Submitted illustration: Collage Architects)

Community members warned that the blanket upzoning called for in the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan would only accelerate and exacerbate the gentrification crisis plaguing Minneapolis. A proposed development in the Harrison Neighborhood of North Minneapolis is proving these voices correct.

Quote from Nichole Buehler, Executive Director of the Harrison Neighborhood Association:

"This development seeks to demolish a full block of naturally occurring affordable housing and displace over 20 Harrison residents, all without any consultation from the neighborhood or residents currently living at the site. The majority of current residents do not want to leave the Harrison community but fear they will not be able to find alternative affordable housing to stay in the neighborhood. In line with the city's inclusionary zoning policy, the proposed development will only include 9 units (out of 95) affordable at 60 percent AMI, which is still out of reach for the majority of Harrison residents whose median income is $34,000."

To supply context, see guidelines here from the Met Council on what is considered "affordable housing":

For 2019, the affordability limit is 80% of the area median income for both rental and ownership housing. In 2019, the area median income (AMI) for a household of four is $100,000. Under these limits, a family of four can earn up to $75,500 to qualify for affordable housing.

So what are considered "affordable rents"?

A family of 4 seeking to rent a 3 bedroom at 60% AMI pays $1,560 per month. That annual cost is $18,720 compared to a Harrison neighborhood median income of $34,000.

Although this is a disturbing proposal, it is hardly surprising. During the debate over the 2040 Plan, many individuals and organizations warned that upzoning communities vulnerable to gentrification would only worsen the homelessness and displacement crisis currently afflicting Minneapolis. They were ignored by boosters of the plan, who characterized all opposition to upzoning as wealthy homeowners who were concerned about a loss of parking. This systematic erasure and marginalization of low-income and POC voices is what structural racism looks like, and is a perfect case study for how supposedly "progressive" Minneapolis continues to perpetuate some of the worst racial disparities in the country.

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