Minnesota Housing Partners Work to Preserve Affordability of Rural Homes in Central Minnesota

Rural Development Property will be Preserved in Hackensack, Minnesota

Rural, affordable homes are saved this month as Greater Minnesota Housing Fund’s board approved a loan to preserve a 19-unit Rural Development property in Hackensack, Minnesota. D.W. Jones will continue ownership and management of the property, and Voronyak Builders will serve as contractor. Birch Lake Apartments, in Hackensack located south of Leech Lake, provides households with affordable rents. Rehabilitation of the 19-unit, aging property, originally built in 1979, will ensure long-term affordability which is tied to the federal Section 8 and Rural Development designations.


Mission Alignment: Preserving Homes and Providing Racial Equity in Rural Communities

The Rural Development Preservation project in Hackensack meets key objectives of GMHF:

  1. To Preserve existing, affordable homes and the Rural Development designation
  2. To Support demographic groups challenged at accessing safe, stable homes
  3. To Provide rural Minnesota communities with long-term affordability

Preserving Affordability

The partnership between D.W. Jones, Voronyak Builders, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and United States Rural Development Program, will preserve critically needed affordable homes for Minnesota households. The majority (12 of 19) of Birch Lake Apartments are restricted to households making less than 60% Area Median Income, or $14,916 per year. Cass Lake median income stood at approximately $25,000 in 2018.

In Cass County, like most other counties in Minnesota, income has not kept pace with increasing housing costs. Between 2000-2017, median rent has increased 31% in Cass County. At the same time, median renter income in Cass County has only increased 4%. According to Minnesota Housing Partnership’s State of the State, 2019, full-time workers employed as Home Health Aides, Personal Care Attendants, Cashiers, and Retail Sales, cannot afford median rents in Cass County. Rural Minnesota communities struggle to earn incomes on par with the Twin Cities, and face decreasing populations as workers move to jobs in larger cities.

Increasing Access to Safe, Stable Housing

Some of Minnesota’s demographic groups that are most challenged at accessing safe, stable affordable homes, will be benefitted by long-term affordability of the homes. The racial makeup of the city of Hackensack is 95.8% White, 1.0% Native American, and 3.2% from two or more races. Within the project, the demographics are slightly more diverse than compared to the city’s demographics: 8% of household identify as Native American and 4% as Hispanic/Latino.


Thank you to D.W. Jones and United States Rural Development for your continued commitment to provide safe, stable housing to all Minnesota communities.

                                                          Photo Credit: Stocksnap.io

Colorful banner image featuring the skyline that you might typically see in a small city or town in Greater Minnesota.