U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., was at the Minneapolis Urban League on Wednesday night to talk about evictions.
“Tonight is not a night to beat up on landlords,” he told a crowd of about 100 residents, activists and landlords. “We need solutions. My goal is to cut the number of evictions.”
Evictions destabilize families, said Zoe Thiel, program manager of the Minneapolis Innovation Team, and having an eviction on a renter’s record “can be really damaging for a long time.”
The hardest-hit areas for evictions in Minneapolis are in the 55411 and 55412 ZIP codes on the North Side, she said. And 10 property owners filed more than 25 percent of eviction notices in 2015, she said.
Eric Hauge of Home Line said renters can call his group to get free legal advice. Eviction is one of the top issues that Home Line deals with, he said.
Although no demographic data is kept by Hennepin County’s Housing Court, Home Line’s researchers said 30 percent of eviction cases they have monitored involved black women, none of whom had legal representation.
Minneapolis, as well as the nation, needs to invest dramatically in affordable housing, Ellison said.
He has proposed the Commonsense Investment in Housing Act (H.R. 948) that would replace the current mortgage interest deduction with a 15 percent tax credit. It would be phased in over five years and would provide $241 billion over 10 years that could be used to build affordable housing, he said.