A metro-wide initiative this summer will begin buying affordable housing units in an effort to keep them affordable.

The Greater Minnesota Housing Fund launched the NOAH Impact Fund last fall, with the goal of reversing the trend of affordable housing being snatched up by investors to redevelop into higher-end rentals that price out low-income residents.

The Impact Fund aimed to raise $25 million to save 1,000 affordable units most at risk of being converted into higher-end rentals in the seven-county metro area. But it wound up raising $32 million in all, with $3 million of that coming from Hennepin County, the lead investor.

While the threat to affordable housing exists across the state and region, Hennepin County has about half the metro area’s affordable housing rentals and 30 percent of all rentals in Minnesota.

Past efforts to expand affordable housing have focused on building more such units to combat its growing scarcity in the Twin Cities’ tight rental market. But communities continue to see a net loss in affordable housing when existing units go upscale.

Kelly Smith