In addition to this direct operational support to the homeless response system, the City plays a critical role in funding the development and preservation of affordable housing, including permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness. Since 2006, the City has provided more than $68 million to support the development of more than 900 units of supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness, including 117 new units in 2018 and 2019.
The City, in partnership with Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, Minneapolis Public Schools, Hennepin County, Pohlad Family Foundation and YMCA of the greater Twin Cities launched Stable Homes Stable Schools in April 2019. Through Stable Homes Stable Schools, families experiencing homelessness or housing instability receive rental assistance and support so their children can thrive in school. As of early 2020, 175 families including 500 children were housed through Stable Homes Stable Schools.
In partnership with tribal, community and government partners, the City opened a temporary Navigation Center to provide emergency shelter and on-site services to more than 175 people who had been residents of a large homeless encampment near Hiawatha and Cedar Avenues, referred to as the Wall of Forgotten Natives, during the summer of 2018. The Navigation Center closed at the end of May 2019, with about half of its residents finding permanent housing. The rate of housing placement was significantly higher than traditional shelters.
The City continues to focus on new and innovative interventions to address the increase in people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. In 2018, the City provided a $50,000 grant to American Indian Community Development Corporation to support a new low-barrier housing model for people experiencing unsheltered homelessness that brings new units online in only a few months and emphasizes low-barrier entry to housing and services. This year $250,000 in new City funds are available for similar projects.
The City has adopted zoning code changes to support persons experiencing homelessness. In 2015, the City adopted ordinances to allow for homeless shelters to be located throughout the City. In 2019, the City approved zoning code changes to allow for the development of intentional communities and cluster developments to provide more housing options for persons experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness. The code updates allow a configuration of small dwellings or rooming units and a common house on a lot.
On June 1, 2020, the City’s Renter Protections Ordinance - Fair Chance Access to Housing - went into effect, eliminating barriers to housing access for many residents.
The City made $3 million available for Emergency Housing Assistance for persons who have experienced a loss of income due to COVID in an effort to prevent evictions during this time of crisis. The County made $15 million available for Emergency Housing Assistance through CARES Act funds. Plans are currently underway for future emergency housing assistance programs using federal funds.
More information about the City’s investments and policy work related to Affordable Housing: