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MAP: Is Affordable Housing Distributed Fairly Across the Twin Cities?

HousingLink data highlights how uneven affordable housing availability can be.

MAP: Is Affordable Housing Distributed Fairly Across the Twin Cities?

Paying for rental housing is no easy proposition in Minnesota.

Last month, the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual Out of Reach report ranked the state worst in the Midwest and 24th nationally. A breakdown of the report by the Minnesota Housing Partnership estimated that 54 percent of renters can’t afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

But apartments can have a hard time winning neighbors over even when they don’t specifically serve low-income renters—as recent debates have shown.

In St. Louis Park, some residents criticized the proposed Eliot Park Apartments development that would build two new apartment buildings with a total of 138 units on Cedar Lake Road. Said Patch reader MMG:

All of a sudden, all I am seeing in this city is another multi-unit building being tossed up every couple of blocks and the very few new single residences are these ridiculous monstrosities squished into ridiculously small lots practically eating up the smaller homes around them.

Meanwhile, some Edina property owners object to a Bylery's grocery store redevelopment that brings with it . Said reader Kari Ciardelli:

MORE rental, really? What are you allowing to happen to this amazing SUBURB? Please consider the LONG TERM affects of this over abundance of high density housing.

The map above shows the number of publicly funded affordable housing units in each census tract, according to data Minneapolis-based HousingLink released Dec. 31 2011. The more affordable housing units in a tract, the darker the shade of red on the map.

(“Affordable,” in this case, means a unit can be rented by someone making 80 percent of the area median income or less. The totals do not include Section 8 vouchers, which is a program that allows renters to use vouchers in the private market.)

The map reflects an uneven distribution of affordable housing. Vast swathes of the Twin Cities have few affordable housing units, while a select few areas have high concentrations. In the western Twin Cities, Minneapolis has the most striking concentrations—although Hopkins, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Richfield and Golden Valley all have significant numbers.

Patch wants to know what you think of these trends. How well do communities do at providing affordable housing? Which ones do a good job and which ones don’t? Are communities even responsible for these trends or are they just responding to existing demand?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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