Ten affordable housing projects in Minneapolis will get $8.9 million in loans from the city, a committee decided Tuesday as City Council members argued the city needs to spend more money on affordable housing.
The biggest loans, which will be sent to the full City Council for final approval, are $2.9 million for the Hook & Ladder apartments in Northeast, $2.3 million for the redevelopment of the Olson Towne Homes in Near North, and $1.1 million for the Ebenezer Loren on Park apartments in the Phillips neighborhood.
The money comes from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund — a combination of city and federal funds — the city taps each year to build or rehab units intended for occupants making less than 50 percent of the median income.
Rising rents and the difficulty of finding affordable housing in Minneapolis have been major themes in the 2017 election campaign.
In addition to the three biggest loans, six other projects will receive funding and five applications were denied. The Community Development and Regulatory Services committee decided Tuesday to loan the money left over — about $89,000 — to the Peris Development on Hennepin Avenue S., which would have 26 units of affordable housing and 15 units of housing for youth aging out of the foster care system.
The 10 projects that got funding were scattered across the city, with one in the First Ward, two in the Second Ward, three in the Fifth Ward, two in the Sixth Ward and two in the Seventh Ward.
Council Member Jacob Frey said the roughly $10 million the city has each year for affordable housing “does not begin to cut the mustard,” and he asked staff to come up with ideas for putting $500,000 more into the Affordable Housing Trust Fund for the 2018 budget. “I’m going to try for a million,” he said.
Council Member Lisa Goodman said staff help will be welcome, but it will be up to the City Council to find money to add to the trust fund.
“The budget’s in our hands. Find something else you don’t want to fund and put it into the trust fund,” Goodman said. “That’s what the City Council was elected to do, to determine what the priorities are.”
Budget discussions will ramp up after the Nov. 7 election, and the City Council is scheduled to adopt a 2018 budget on Dec. 6.