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MICAH Picnic

It is time to get together to celebrate our wins, to talk about our future strategies, to get acquainted or reacquainted, and to enjoy a beautiful end of summer picnic! Tuesday September 9th from 5:30PM to 7:30 PM. Click here for full details.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program WAITING LIST OPENING

The Metropolitan Council Housing and Redevelopment Authority (Metro HRA) will be accepting online applications for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program. Online Applications will be available:
8:00 a.m. Tuesday, February 24, 2015
12:00 p.m. Friday, February 27, 2015

Visit www.waitlistcheck.com/MN2707 to fill out an online application, 24 hours a day during the above time period. Applications will not be available in the HRA offices, and fax or e-mail requests will not be accepted.

For more information, see:www.metrocouncil.org/METC/files/1a/1a781acf-8fd0-4821-a930-fbba49d290d0.pdf

Minnesota 2020 and Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) have teamed up to explore and examine the housing recovery. What has it meant for owners and renters in Minnesota? See the first report: Uneven Recovery: MN Housing is Getting Unaffordable

The largest homeless shelter in downtown Minneapolis is the Salvation Army’s Harbor Lights at 1010 Currie Av. N. It’s designed to provide a warm place to sleep for 350 adults. One very cold night last week, it accommodated 550 people in almost impossibly crowded conditions.
Read the rest of the article, A focus on homelessness will pay off for state in the January 10, 2014 Strib.

Homes for All 2013 County Profiles

The 2013 County Profiles show that a slow economic recovery and rising rental costs have made housing difficult to afford, especially for renters. Thriving places need affordable housing to ensure that Minnesota's children reach their full potential. Yet 97% of Minnesota's 87 counties have more extremely low income renters than affordable apartments available to them. Over the last decade, incomes for renters have fallen, while rents have risen in most places. 

For owners, home buying is now more affordable for some, but many renters lack the savings or credit needed to buy. Meanwhile, many owners cannot sell given current high debt levels.
View your own county's profile here, and see data, maps, and analysis.

How far out of reach is affordable housing in Minnesota?
Check out this analysis!

How many affordable units need to be built in my community?

How are we doing? See answer on pages 7-11 at http://metrocouncil.org/Data-Maps/DandMPublication...

Metropolitan Council Joint Transportation and Housing policy plan workshops scheduled August 26 thru Sept 25, 2014.

The Metropolitan Council needs your feedback and input on the public comment drafts for the 2040 Regional Transportation Policy Plan and the 2040 Housing Policy Plan. The transportation plan emphasizes transportation options by expanding and improving transit service, expanding the MnPASS lane system, and encouraging biking and walking. The housing plan identifies local and regional needs and priorities for housing, and connects housing to other Council system plans, including transportation. For full notice, click here

If you want to see what is happening on the national level, click here for the latest Action Alert that we received from the National Coalition for the Homeless. 

Dakota County Community Development Agency says: "Housing Needs Assessment Shows High Demand for Affordable Housing Through 2030" in July newsletter, CDA Today. Click here for full article.
Metropolitan Council Leadership Waters Down Draft Housing Policy Plan’s Fair Housing Language FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 24, 2014
Contact: Lars Negstad, lnegstad@isaiahmn.org, 612.354.9708 OR Eric Howard, ehoward@isaiahmn.org, 928.701.1954

Metropolitan Council Divided on Equity Vote on Housing Policy Plan at Odds with State of Region Address

Following the release of a draft Housing Policy Plan by the Metropolitan Council this week, the first such Policy Plan to be drafted since 1985, ISAIAH and the following organizations and individuals – Alliance for Metropolitan Stability; Housing for All; Housing Preservation Project; MICAH; Neighborhoods Organizing for Change; Rev. Brian Herron, Vice President of the Minnesota State Baptist Convention; Jeff Martin, President of NAACP St. Paul Branch – made the following statement:
“We are shocked and dismayed that the Metropolitan Council, under the leadership of Chair Susan Haigh, voted on Wednesday to weaken the draft Housing Policy Plan by removing stronger fair housing provisions which would have furthered racial equity across our region.

"The consequences of a weak final Housing Policy Plan would be very serious. Our country and our region have a history of explicitly racist zoning and land use policies that have resulted in structural inequities, and disinvestment in communities of color. A weak Housing Policy Plan would mean that affluent, mostly white suburbs will continue to be exclusive enclaves. Without strong proactive steps, racial and economic segregation in our schools and neighborhoods will continue. Too many children of color will be funneled into the school to prison pipeline. Our increasingly diverse region will continue to grow apart, rather than together. This is unacceptable.

"The Metropolitan Council’s Community Development Committee voted Monday night to strengthen the document’s fair housing language. Council Member Jennifer Munt moved the language, noting the Council’s strong commitment to achieving racial equity and reducing segregation. With support of the Committee Chair Gary Cunningham the amendment passed overwhelmingly. At last night’s full Metropolitan Council meeting, however, the Council voted 9 to 8 to remove the stronger language. Met Council Chair Sue Haigh vocally supported the move to water down the Housing Policy Plan.

"The deleted stronger fair housing language included provisions that would ensure that the Council would do the following:
• Lead on Fair Housing in the Region: by affirming the Council’s role as a fair housing champion throughout the region by leading and funding fair housing compliance activities, testing in all markets, education and enforcement, and by explicitly naming the role of redlining (mortgage lending discrimination by banks) in fueling segregation.
• Model Fair Housing Practices: by adopting its own comprehensive fair housing policy based on the recently completed, HUD-mandated Fair Housing and Equity Assessment ,and give explicit responsibilities for addressing fair housing issues to leaders of divisions that impact (directly or indirectly) housing.
• Set High Fair Housing Expectations: The Council should leverage all housing-related competitive awards and contracts to affirmatively further fair housing.

"In January, Chair Haigh made strong and eloquent statement about the urgency and importance of working towards racial equity. In her State of the Region address entitled, “An Equitable Future for our Region,” Haigh said: “I am embarrassed that our region is at the top of the list of the 25 largest U.S. metropolitan areas with the worst race-based income disparities in the country.” She also posed and answered the question, “So, what does the Metropolitan Council have to do with eliminating disparities anyway? Everything.”

"Chair Haigh’s actions to weaken the draft Housing Policy Plan on the eve of its public release send a very disturbing signal that the status quo will continue to be tolerated. Creating racial equity is a laudable and critical goal for the Met Council to pursue. But it will require muscular policy that ensures an equitable housing policy plan that works hand-in-hand with an aggressive transit equity plan.

"We will continue to engage with the Metropolitan Council to advocate for a stronger final Housing Policy Plan - a strategic plan that moves our region towards ensuring safe, decent, affordable housing is available in all communities, and is a robust policy that increases racial equity and reduces racial segregation.


ISAIAH, a non-profit coalition of over 100 congregations from various faith traditions working in the Twin Cities, St. Cloud and greater Minnesota, is committed to establishing racial and economic justice. ISAIAH is a member of the PICO National Network.

MICAH Joins Community Partners to Stop Displacement of Nicollet Ridge Tenants

Recently the Nicollet Ridge Apartment complex in Burnsville was sold to a Philadelphia-based real estate trust called Resource Residential and 262 residents faced displacement when the new management began ending participation in the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program. Ninety-four of the 339 apartments at Nicollet Ridge were under this program and provided well situated decent, safe and affordable housing for people with low incomes, disabilities, the elderly and other disadvantaged groups.
Jennifer Keogh, Dakota Co. CDA’s Housing Assistance Director and Rebecca Bowers, Dakota Co. Housing Resource Developer, sprang into action and called a meeting of local community partners. MICAH represented the faith community in this collaboration that began to address this serious situation. 42 of the households faced losing their homes between the end of May and the end of June. Living up to its prophetic name MICAH prepared to bring this situation to the public’s attention through the newspaper. With the vacancy rate currently under 2% these people would have little opportunity to remain in their community, if they even could locate another unit.
An event with Nicollet Ridge tenants was quickly planned to bring together information, resources, community connections and the means to determine the housing needs of these households. Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS) interviewed some of the impacted residents. MICAH began to alert the faith community to the potential need for assisting these households with packing and moving of their belongings.
SunThisWeek Newspaper carried an article covering an interview with Mark Ulfers, executive director of Dakota Co. CDA and the situation received front page coverage by the Star Tribune, including the personal situation of several of the affected tenants.
As this situation unfolded Brian Kroker, Regional VP of Resource Residential, responded to a letter from SMRLS stating that they were unaware of the despaired impact that their business decision was having. They entered into rent negotiations with the CDA and proposed a rent structure that the CDA accepted. The impacted tenants are having to cover the increased rent themselves, but are relieved that they will be able to continue living at Nicollet Ridge. The highest rent increase was $50.
The Nicollet Ridge renovation plan will continue and the CDA has been told that another rent increase will take place next year as the property is upgraded.
According to Jennifer Keogh, “We were able to save many families from ending in homelessness; a great success story. This would not have happened without your (MICAH’s) assistance and the collaborative effort from our community partners.”

Conversation with Met Council Members Steven Chavez and Wendy Wulffon about Housing Policy Plan

MICAH invites you to a Facilitated Conversation on the Met Council draft Housing Policy Plan With Dakota Co. Metropolitan Council Members Steven Chavez and Wendy Wulff. Wednesday, September 10, 8:15am: Continental breakfast & fellowship, 8:30 - 9:30am: Facilitated Conversation. Presbyterian Church of the Apostles, 701 E.130th Street, Burnsville. This is the first stand-alone housing policy document since 1985! Questions & RSVP to Jean MacFarland at jeanmacfarland@comcast.net or 952-894-2033. To view the plan go to Met Council website: http://metrocouncil.org/Housing/planning/Draft-204...

The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency has released its Affordable Housing Plan for 2015. To learn more about the plan and participate in a discussion, please join Commissioner Mary Tingerthal for a Webinar on Monday, August 18 at 1 p.m. Register here today. Email your comments about the plan by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, August 29.

Our congratulations to Avenues for Homeless Youth, Rev. Rachel McIver Morey of Brooklyn Mosaic United Methodist Church, and all the others involved, on their Aug 14 ground breaking for the Twin Cities’ first suburban youth homeless shelter in Brooklyn Park.See the article in Strib here.

MICAH supports HUD Rulemaking to strengthen Affirmative Fair Housing

MICAH’s mission states that MICAH envisions a metropolitan area where everyone without exception has a safe, decent, accessible and affordable home. In recent years, MICAH has become aware that the methods used to allocate federal funds and evaluate impediments to fair housing choice have not resulted in reduced discrimination and increased opportunity for racial minorities in Minnesota.

The intent of the Federal Fair Housing Act was to replace segregated neighborhoods with “truly integrated and balanced living patterns. In most areas of the U.S. the current practice of affirmatively furthering fair housing choice has not been effective. Current regulations only require localities, states, and public housing agencies (PHAs) receiving HUD funds to certify that they are complying by having an Analysis of Impediments (AI), taking actions to overcome impediments, and keeping records.

Under a new proposed rule, HUD will replace the required Analysis of Impediments report with a Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) and will provide each “program participant” with nationally uniform local and regional data on a variety of fair housing factors such as patterns of integration and segregation, and racial and ethnic areas of concentrated poverty. HUD will also provide data related to education, poverty, transit access, employment, and environmental health hazards.

HUD has asked for comments on the proposed rule by September 15, 2013. The MICAH Board is preparing comments to be approved at our August Board Meeting and submitted to HUD.

Other interested parties are invited to review the proposed rule and to comment. Information, including questions for commentators, is available at Regulations.gov:

A short summary of the proposed rule is at HUD.gov:

A statement by the National Community Investment Corporation is at:

MPR News Annie Baxter Minneapolis Mar 11, 2014

Lowanda Harvey couldn't have been further from her dream of owning a home last year. A long-term relationship had ended, leaving her single, and a pile-up of medical problems made her unable to work. She couldn't make ends meet and wound up homeless...
Complete MPR story here.

Home Sweet Home Should Never Be A Car!

MICAH’s South Chapter hosted over 50 community members at a breakfast on February 19 at Presbyterian Church of the Apostles in Burnsville. It was an opportunity to meet with state legislators to build relationships and proclaim as people of faith that all God’s people need a home. A young man who spent his high school years in homelessness shared how Lincoln Place, a supportive housing residence in Eagan, has helped him complete training and begin his career as a cosmetologist. MICAH’s legislative agenda was presented and conversations about the upcoming session followed in district groups. The continental breakfast was catered by Brotherhood, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to empowering and employing young African American males.

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