KEYC - Minnesota Struggles with Affordable Housing

Minnesota Struggles with Affordable Housing

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According to a new report, lower income families in 84 out of 87 counties in Minnesota are struggling to come up with rent money.

Out of all the counties in the state, Blue Earth County is tied for fourth worst for having affordable and available units for those renters.

And for Mankato specifically, those seeking higher education are to blame for ever–climbing rent costs.

CEO of Partners for Affordable Housing in Mankato, Carrol Meyers–Dobler says, "It's the college town atmosphere that's driving up the high rents. For our people, for anyone, if you're spending more that 30 percent of your income for rent or mortgage payments. You are at risk of becoming homeless."

Meyers–Dobler says the reason is, the family is burdened by one big, unexpected financial responsibility, the family could be forced out onto the street.

Meyers–Dobler says, "Dad loses his job, or mom's hours get cut or a child has a chronic illness. Any number of a myriad of factors means all of a sudden they can't make that rent payment and you know what happens when you can't make rent payments. You get evicted."

Together, the city of Mankato and Partners for Affordable Housing are coming up with a plan to help with the abundance.

Meyers–Dobler says, "We're working with the city of Mankato for the possibility of addressing the need for a larger shelter. But a shelter isn't the answer for this community and I don't think a shelter is the answer for any community. It's a band aid that hopefully gives people time to find an affordable apartment in the community."

But Meyers–Dobler says the real answer is affordable housing.

Well aware of the situation, this past session, the legislature did include one hundred million dollars for affordable housing in the bonding bill.

The three counties that low income families are not hurting to come up with rent are Marshall, Stevens and Wilkin.