City to study affordable housing options

The city of Rochester will explore in more detail a policy change that could incentivize affordable housing creation in the city with the help of a national expert in affordable housing issues.

The Rochester City Council on Monday took action to hire a consultant firm, Grounded Solutions Network, to provide recommendations on an inclusionary housing policy.

The firm has provided consultations to more than 50 U.S. cities and organizations, according to a proposal it submitted to the city April 15.

Olmsted County housing staff and a representative of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund in May met with the city council and advised the city would need to create about 4,500 units of affordable housing in the next five years to keep up with growing demand.

Market rate housing creation has kept pace with demand in Rochester but the majority of units, about 89 percent, are above affordable housing standards, John Errigo, a syndication officer with the housing fund, said in a May meeting. About 60 percent of area renters are unable to afford market rate rent, Errigo said at the time.

The city has considered an inclusionary housing policy to address these issues and at a Monday city council meeting, council member Michael Wojcik asked for a decision on whether to hire a consultant to assist city staff in researching and drafting a policy.

“This is a very simple, low-cost step to educate ourselves and bring in an organization that has a tremendous amount of capability in this, has designed these programs all over the country, and more importantly, they’re engaging with the key stakeholders here,” Wojcik said.

Read the full story online at the Post-Bulletin.

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