Tag Archives: affordable housing

Minnesota State Capitol

Can MN legislators afford to pay rent?

Affordable Housing and Minimum Wage

With the combination of soaring rents and stagnant wages putting housing out of reach, five legislators have accepted Minnesota’s minimum wage challenge.

According to yesterday’s report from Working Minnesota, five MN state representatives are determined to learn what it takes to find housing they can afford, as they take Working America’s Minimum Wage Challenge.

The non-profit advocacy group caught up with Rep. Karen Clark, who struggled to find affordable housing on a budget of $375 per month. “It would be very discouraging,” Clark said, after learning that she could only afford a single room in a house shared with three adult men. “If I had children, I wouldn’t be able to do it.”

Clark’s South Minneapolis district — which includes parts of the East Phillips, Seward, and Lyn-Lake neighborhoods — is hardly an anomaly. At $7.25 an hour, the average Minnesotan would have to work 89 hours per week (more than two full-time jobs) to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Some families fare even worse.

Beyond calling for action to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage, Clark pointed to the importance of public investment in affordable housing for families.

Minnesota needs to invest more in affordable housing. “We have around 20,000 homeless people, and half of those are children. We have waiting lists for public housing. We know how to make housing affordable…but it costs money.”

BB Housing has a proven strategy to make the most out of public support for affordable housing. To learn more about what we can do for your community, please contact us directly. Together, we can make a difference.

Source: Working Minnesota

698 Hawthorne—BB Housing Property

The rent is too damn high! And what your city can do about it. (Part I)

In response to the housing foreclosure crisis, Loren Brueggemann and Michael Buelow founded BB Housing with the mission of restoring homes and revitalizing communities.

Together with municipal officials, we developed an innovative strategy to stabilize neighborhoods by transforming abandoned homes into high-quality affordable housing.

Over 35 low- and very low-income families in St. Paul, MN benefit from affordable housing in our beautifully restored homes. These stable neighbors in turn revitalize three distinct neighborhoods. We are proud of this success.

Still, rents continue to rise in cities across the U.S. while abandoned homes remain vacant — and we have more to work to do. That work begins with spreading the word.

Part I of this series will focus on the crisis of affordability. Part II will turn to the problem of vacant properties and BB Housing’s innovative REO-to-rental solution.

Millions can’t afford housing.

We are in the midst of the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has known.

—Shaun Donovan, HUD Secretary, New York Times, Dec. 9, 2013

The statistics are striking.

Research from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) shows that, of those who rent, half of American families cannot afford their homes and devote more than 30% of their income to rent. One-in-two of these rent burdened families suffers severe rent burdenspending over 50% of household income on rent.

Can you imagine spending fifty-cents out of every dollar, just to have a roof over your head? For too many, that is the terrible reality. As the percentage of American renters grows, the affordability gap continues to widen. For tens of millions, the rental housing crisis is worse than it’s ever been before.

Behind the numbers, real people struggle to make ends meet. Households experiencing rent burden include:

Abandoned homes blight neighborhoods.

While Americans struggle to pay their rent, abandoned REO homes remain empty, blighting neighborhoods and draining municipal coffers. These houses can be rehabilitated as affordable rentals in partnership with experienced developers.

Look for Part II of this series, which will address the other half of the housing crisis and our REO-to-Rental solution. To ensure that you don’t miss it, connect with BB Housing on  Facebook and Twitter.

You don’t have to wait. To learn more about BB Housing and what our strategy can do for your community, please contact us directly. Together, we can make a difference.