Hennepin OKs $3M for affordable housing fund

A new investment fund aimed at preserving thousands of affordable housing units in the metro area got a $3 million boost Tuesday from Hennepin County.

A new investment fund aimed at preserving thousands of affordable housing units in the metro area got a $3 million boost Tuesday when the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners voted to support the effort
led by the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund.

The Hennepin County resolution sets aside $3 million to help save 1,000 affordable units over the next 2½ years.

The money will be part of a new $25 million fund created through contributions from the McKnight Foundation, the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and other philanthropic, bank and private partners, said Warren Hanson, president and CEO of Minnesota Housing.

Developers interested in purchasing existing low-cost units would have access to the money through a 10-year, low-interest loan that would cover the equity investment needed to purchase and maintain affordable housing for at least 15 years.

“We’re trying to achieve a double bottom line here for investors,” Hanson said in an interview Tuesday. “You get a modest return economically, but you also get a social return in terms of helping a family … or thousands of families stay in housing they can afford.”

The unanimous Hennepin County vote comes as rental vacancy rates in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs have fallen below 3 percent, drawing national investors who want a piece of the area’s hot rental market.

Read the full story at Finance & Commerce (subscription required).

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