The Star Tribune last week gave rental housing a one-two punch. On June 7, a front-page story ("Renters take bigger slice of Twin Cities") highlighted cases of visual blight and unneighborly behavior associated with rental housing, while on June 9, a story in the metro section ("Landlord-city feud snares tenants") described unsafe and unhealthy conditions found in the apartments of one of Minneapolis' major landlords.

These stories would encourage a reader to speak out against any rental housing being proposed for his or her neighborhood. Yes, the type of rental housing described does exist, particularly for lower-income households. Even with falling property values, the economics of owning and running rental housing make it very hard for the market to serve low-income families without cutting corners.

This is why our public investments are so critical; they fill the gap between what low-income households can afford and what it takes to have a well-managed, attractive property that can be welcomed into a community. I would like to see more stories that profile the high-quality apartments being financed by our state and local housing agencies.


The writer is director of the Minnesota Housing Partnership.