Affordable Housing Hard to Come By

Created: 08/08/2014 7:18 PM
By: Meghan Reistad

(ABC 6 News) -- The Minnesota Housing Partnership released new information about renting in Minnesota. The organization found it is getting harder to find an affordable place to rent than years ago.

“Compared to the year 2000, to the most recent census information, we’re finding that renter incomes are declining, while rent is increasing,” said Chip Halbach of Minnesota Housing Partnership.

The organization says Minnesota’s median rent costs have risen by 6 percent, while incomes for renters have fallen by 17 percent.  As a result, it is harder, now, to find an affordable place to live.

Karen Mattson works for the Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority, a program trying to fix the problem.

“We see people struggling to find affordable housing,” said Mattson. “We help them as much as possible. If we know of vacancy, we call them. We have a landlord list that we give them. It’s tough though.”

Kristen Olson from the Austin Chamber of Commerce is also working to help renters.

“I’m creating a rental data base to accumulate information so that people have a place to go,” said Olson. “Make sure that the people who come to town can actually live here.”

Right now, about 550 units are designated for subsidized housing in Mower County. However, Karen Mattson believes there could be more.

“It’s very competitive. Right now, there’s a lot of people looking for a place to live and not a lot of vacancies so it’s a very tight market,” said Mattson.

The Minnesota Housing Partnership claims it is now more difficult for renters than 14 years ago, a problem the organization is working to turn around.

“The first step to fixing the problem is to broaden awareness so people understand the situation.”

Photo: ABC 6 News