In a bid to improve the state of the public housing system in Minneapolis, Mayor Jacob Frey on Thursday announced a boost in city funding for housing repairs.

Frey is proposing $4 million in additional funding next year for the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA), which would bring the city's annual contribution to the agency to $5 million. He said the funds would provide "consistency" and "predictability" to the Housing Authority, helping it to plan ahead and raise additional money. The MPHA is grappling with a maintenance backlog of $229 million.

"For generations, the federal government has disinvested in this important public housing stock," Frey said at a news conference. "Somebody needs to step up, and we at the city are in a place to do so."

The extra housing spending is a preview of what to expect when Frey unveils his 2024 city budget Tuesday.. Thursday's announcement, he said, was intended to set the tone for other jurisdictions to follow suit. He said the additional funding would come from the tax levy.

Besides housing, Frey's priorities for the upcoming year include public safety, climate change and rebuilding and empowering neighborhoods and business districts still reeling from the vandalism in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder in 2020.

Abdi Warsame, executive director of the MPHA, said the agency will use the new money for a variety of high-priority capital improvements, including high-rise ventilation and cooling systems, elevator modernizations and resident community spaces.

The funds will also help finance renovation projects for major high-rise and scattered-site affordable homes, he said.

"Beyond the magnitude of this new funding and the impact it will have on MPHA's preservation and production activities, this new money delivers the agency certainty it can plan for and leverage with a variety of financial tools to make this funding go even farther," Warsame said.

MPHA long has been scrambling to keep up with its growing list of maintenance needs. To bridge the gap in federal funding, the agency in recent years has taken numerous steps that include public-private partnerships to cover the cost of major renovation projects, the use of project-based funding and lobbying at the city and state levels for additional support.

All of that has not been enough to close the funding gap, Warsame said. But with the city's proposed annual funding commitment, the agency is getting one step closer to doing so, he said.

The Housing Authority serves about 26,000 residents with public housing and Section 8 vouchers. About 83% of the residents are Black, 39% are children and 21% are age 62 and older.

Correction: A previous version of this story should have said Mayor Frey is proposing $5 million for the Housing Authority next year, which would be five times the current level of annual funding.