Mayor Frey will use $28 million in pandemic relief money for housing in Minneapolis

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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey wants to use $28 million of American Rescue Plan money for affordable housing, including rental assistance to low-income tenants, pathways out of homelessness and new homeownership opportunities, particularly for Black and Indigenous people and people of color.

At a news conference at the Elliot Twins public housing complex Thursday, Frey said his plan will help keep people in their homes as the city anticipates a wave of evictions after a statewide ban is lifted. The federal government is expected to end its eviction moratorium on June 30.

"There is a looming eviction moratorium that will be lifted," Frey said. "People are struggling to make ends meet, and we want to make sure that those who are struggling most are provided the assistance first."

The city expects to receive $271 million in federal pandemic relief money. The city is allocating $4.6 million to the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority to help with repairs, renovation and the addition of 84 new units at its scattered sites. About $7.1 million would go toward helping homeowners who are struggling with mortgage payments or who have significant home repair needs. The mayor's proposal includes about $4.5 million to help reduce racial disparities in homeownership.

But a big chunk of Frey's affordable housing proposal has been earmarked to help address the uptick in the city's homelessness. About $6 million would go directly to "creating pathways out of homelessness and into housing."

Another $6.2 million would go toward a new pilot program that is meant to help those who are experiencing homelessness find affordable housing and connect those who are suffering from substance abuse with resources, an investment the mayor called "a housing-first model."

"We are investing in low- or no-barrier housing," Frey said. "We're investing in deeply affordable housing so that people who are experiencing homelessness have that next rung on the ladder to pull themselves out."

Mike Goze, CEO of the American Indian Community Development Corporation, which has been helping the city with a number of the initiatives, including setting up a culturally sensitive shelter for the Indigenous community, praised the mayor's proposal.

Goze said he saw national significance in "the investment that the city is making into helping the American Indian homelessness, American Indian homeownership … and we're jump-starting that here in Minneapolis."

The City Council has scheduled a public hearing on American Rescue Plan spending June 16, and a final vote is expected July 2.

Faiza Mahamud • 612-673-4203

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