A Minneapolis council member’s effort to slow renovation of 640 scattered-site homes was voted down by his colleagues Wednesday, after the housing authority’s interim director assured the council that no residents would be displaced.
The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) is working to renovate the homes under the federal Section 18 program, which will allow it to spend an additional $3 million per year to repair roofs, bathrooms, kitchens, heating systems and plumbing.
The authority has received federal approval to transfer ownership of the houses to a nonprofit, which would allow it to accept funding from other nonprofits and banks. Officials have said none of the 3,430 residents living in the houses will be forced to find a new place to live — the repairs could happen while they are living there, or would require living somewhere else for three weeks at most.
But Cam Gordon, chairman of the council’s Housing Policy and Development Committee, called for slowing the process after a residents’ advocacy group raised concerns.
Interim MPHA Director Tracey Scott told the committee that the resolution would jeopardize funding and violate legal timelines. She said the resolution is inspired by “a deliberate campaign of fear and misinformation rather than facts and consideration of good public policy.”
She pointed to the agency’s estimated $152 million maintenance and renovation backlog, a number that continues to grow as federal funding stalls.
“The message and the spirit carried by this resolution undercuts almost two years of engagement by MPHA staff to counter the fear these low-income families have been subjected to,” Scott said.
The committee voted against the resolution 5-1.