Minnesota Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal joined community leaders last Thursday to announce funding to create and preserve more than 1,700 affordable homes throughout the state, including rental units and single-family houses. The announcement outlined funding for 55 developments, including Vista Ridge in Waconia to be developed by MWF Properties LLC.

The proposed local project involves construction of 52 rental homes with 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units targeted at providing workforce and supportive housing. The housing proposal is intended to serve households with incomes in the $38,000-$63,000 range depending on size. Also proposed are four high-priority homeless households and four households for persons with disabilities.

“Waconia is in need of housing for our broad demographic, creating housing opportunities for retired people to those that work in a variety of jobs,” said city administrator Susan Arntz. “Many of our employers, including Ridgeview Medical Center, have reported a high need for housing opportunities for their employees. This potential project attempts to address some of those needs.”

The developer submitted a site plan application to the city last Thursday, which begins an internal review of the project. Total development cost is estimated at about $12.8 million, with 9 percent tax credit equity funding amounting to about $9.1 million.

The total Minnesota Housing investment announced last week amounts to $87.5 million in state and federal resources that will leverage $364 million in private and local funding to provide more affordable housing statewide and support more than 3,600 jobs.

Each of the announced projects was selected through a single common application process with funding from Minnesota Housing, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and the Metropolitan Council.

“We know that the smartest investment we can make in our state’s future is securing a foundation of strong communities and stable homes for all Minnesotans,” Commissioner Tingerthal said at a press conference last Thursday. “The projects selected today bolster Minnesota’s workforce and communities and meet our growing affordable housing needs by providing more housing for workers. Nearly three-quarters of the projects will fund the new construction of rental homes that will provide critical housing for workers and maintain economic competitiveness for employers.”

New housing is slated for greater Minnesota communities like Baxter, Buffalo, Mankato, Rochester, Staples and St. Michael as well as the Twin Cities metropolitan area. There is also a focus on creating more affordable housing in suburban and “high-opportunity” areas like Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Inver Grove Heights, Vadnais Heights, Shakopee and Waconia, according to Tingerthal.

Another priority is to provide units so that more people experiencing

homelessness can find a home and be connected with services.

“Too many families across Minnesota struggle to afford quality housing, forcing them to cut back on other essential needs like food, medicine and education,” said Gov. Mark Dayton. “This critical investment in affordable housing across our state will strengthen our local communities and Minnesota families.”

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