Not Meant For Families: The Emphasis on 1 Bedrooms and Micro-units is Anti-Family and Anti-Immigrant

Nasro Abshir, who owns and operates First Choice DayCare with her mother, wrote that she and her family were forced to re-settle in Richfield, because they could not find an affordable 3 bedroom in Minneapolis.

“They just were not building them anymore,” Nasro writes in Real Renters of Minneapolis. “Everything was 2 bedroom loft style with little privacy. Definitely not meant for families. I could tell they were targeted towards young couples and entry level corporate white people who ride bikes. Despite having our own business we simply could not afford to live in Minneapolis.”

Data from the Minneapolis Rental Housing Brief supports Nasro’s observations. Rental vacancies for 3 bedroom apartments are very rare compared to vacancies for 1 bedroom apartments.

For families who cannot afford to buy a house, renting an apartment that is large enough to comfortably and safely accommodate everyone is increasingly difficult.

Not Meant For Families = Not Meant for Immigrants

According to the 2010 Census, the average household size for immigrants in Minnesota was 3.1, while the average size of non-immigrant households was 2.4. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household size for Hispanic people was 3.1 as of 2015.

The 2010 Census showed that in the Hmong community, the average is 5.6 people per household.

41% of Somali people live in households with 4 or more people.

If the city won’t build 3 bedroom apartments -- or protect the affordability of those currently existing -- where are the families larger with more than 2.4 people supposed to go?

If Minneapolis is truly going to be a Sanctuary City, we need to do more than refuse to work with ICE. We cannot claim we are pro-immigrant if we allow immigrant families to be pushed out of the city by economic forces.

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