Addressing affordable housing in Olmsted County
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(ABC 6 News) – The lack of affordable housing options is a consistent issue in southeast Minnesota and it’s not getting better with inflation on the rise.
Dave Dunn, the executive director of Olmsted County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, said the need for affordable housing is an issue for people of all demographics. He gave an example of one apartment building within the city of Rochester where rent is increasing somewhere between $150 to $300 a month. Because of that increase, several people can’t afford to live there anymore.
“I think inflation can be a big part of that,” said Dunn.
“Everybody has been raising rent. Everybody has been catching up. Whether it’s because of inflation and their cost increasing, or whether it’s because of the pandemic. They weren’t necessarily able to raise funds during that time. So you’re kind of seeing this one-two impact that we’ve really seen rent increase dramatically in our area.”
That’s where the Housing Choice Voucher program comes in. The rental assistance program allows people to put 30% of their income towards housing with the other 70% paid for by the federal government. Because of housing costs in Rochester, only a fraction of the people eligible for the program are eligible for assistance.