The city of Edina voted last week to pursue a partnership with the Metropolitan Council in order to secure more affordable housing for families.

The partnership, which was approved by the city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority Nov. 12, will expand the Met Council HRA’s Family Affordable Housing Program in Edina. The program will add more affordable housing for families in Edina – a long-sought goal in the city. Through this partnership, the number of houses for families needing larger rental space may double, city staff said.

“With housing stability, there’s better health outcomes, theres’ better educational outcomes,” Stephanie Hawkinson, the city’s affordable housing development manager, said at the HRA meeting. “(People) are able to maintain their jobs.”

Under the partnership, the city would buy and own the single-family homes while the Met Council’s HRA would lease them out to families in need and be responsible for keeping up maintenance. Households with incomes at or below 50% area median income, or $51,700 for a family of four, are eligible through the Met Council’s program.

To fund the acquisition of the homes, the city would use $2 million of pooled funds from a Southdale Tax Increment Financing District. The city’s HRA also authorized the use of this money for the program at the Nov. 12 meeting.

The Met Council’s HRA currently owns and manages eight properties in Edina, which it acquired between 2001 and 2004. This happened after a 1995 federal decree to deconcentrate affordable housing in Minneapolis.

According to the staff report, the cost of housing is a barrier for many people wanting to move to Edina. Many of those who may need a lower cost of housing are also those who are essential workers during the pandemic, it stated.

While the city does provide affordable housing opportunities in apartments, some are not suitable for larger households, the report said. According to Met Council data, 19% of overcrowding in Edina housing is from larger families – five members or more – living in smaller-sized housing. Hawkinson and Terri Smith, director of the Met Council’s HRA, said three-bedroom houses will be the focus.

According to the report, the cost of the homes will not be more than $400,000.

Edina HRA commissioners, who are also all City Council members, expressed appreciation for the partnership.

“The ability to find partners to help make this happen is the key,” said Councilmember Mike Fischer. “One family at a time, we can make this happen.”

Council member Mary Brindle noted that “finding a path forward” for affordable housing is exciting.

Finding a larger sized single-family home, like a three-bedroom, may be a bit challenging though, Commissioner Ron Anderson commented.

Though the city’s HRA approved pursuing the partnership, the Met Council must also formally approve it. Smith said she expects this to happen by the end of the year.

– Follow Caitlin Anderson on Twitter @EdinaSunCurrent

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