I hope you read my op ed in Sunday’s Pioneer Press. I don’t normally get too agitated by policy negotiations. This one is different. I can’t emphasize strongly enough how deeply concerned I am about this rent control proposal. Today I’m thinking of our nonprofit housing partners. For any multi-family housing owner, affordable or market rate, the largest costs are building security, utilities, taxes, and wages. All largely out of their control. These organizations run on very lean margins, and already must raise money every year to meet budget gaps. Any belief that rent control is the answer to more affordable housing requires blinders to these market realities.
A great article in Finance and Commerce talks about the Twin Cities’ affordable housing crisis. It talks about Minnesota nonprofits, government agencies, and some private stakeholders marshaling resources to deal with an unprecedented shortage of affordable housing. “One of their objectives is to get more for-profit players involved in acquiring existing affordable housing or developing new housing” (emphasis mine). Sarah Harris, of Aeon, refers to the Met Council’s projections of a need for 50,000 more affordable units over the next 10 years. “Meanwhile, we are losing 4,000 to 6,000 affordable units per year,” Harris said. Warren Hansen, CEO and founder of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, talks about ongoing efforts to expand affordable housing options. He said, “the next phase of the effort is to recruit more market-rate builders and developers to participate in production and preservation of housing.” These great ideas will not come to fruition with rent control in place.
Other ideas are out there. A Star Tribune article in Sunday’s paper lays out the supply challenges well. According to Tara Beard, manager of Livable Cities grant programs for the Met Council, more supply “is the biggest issue we need to address in affordable housing.” Lee Blons, CEO of Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, aims to create a statewide rent subsidy program to assist. Anne Mavity, Executive Director of the Minnesota Housing Partnership, says that the private market can’t make the numbers work without assistance. All these leaders suggest assistance to renters and developers alike; all based on incenting more development. None offered rent cap as a solution.
Make no mistake, this issue will be won by the voters who SHOW UP. Be sure that is you and all your St. Paul resident employees. If you need to double check your polling location by visiting MNVotes.org.
You can follow the SHBC campaign by visiting www.ThinkTwiceStPaul.com and www.ThinkTwiceMinneapolis.com or follow us on Twitter at @ThinkTwiceSTP and @ThinkTwiceMPLS.
See you in the trenches.
Among those who received two doses of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine six or more months ago, here’s who is eligible for a booster right now: people 65 and older; those 18 and older who live in long-term care; and those 18 and older who have underlying medical conditions or work or live in high-risk settings. For those who received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, anyone 18 and older who was vaccinated two or more months ago is eligible. (Read the C.D.C.’s full guidelines).
The C.D.C. also gave a green light to a mix-and-match strategy, so people who are eligible for boosters can decide to get a dose of a different brand than the one they first received.
Next up for shots: children. F.D.A. regulators said the Pfizer vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks for 5- to 11-year-olds. Emergency authorization could come as early as next week.
The country has suffered through five waves of the coronavirus pandemic now, depending on how you count. Here’s why few experts are forecasting a substantial winter peak.
Roe Law Group is providing a free webinar on OSHA’s COVID-10 ETS and the Federal Contractor Mandate, Oct 28 noon-1pm. Zoom link here, password 734998.
MDH announced this past week that Minnesota has begun administering boosters.
Here is a link to information on all the new testing sites:
Find my Vaccine: https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/locations/index.jsp
Health Metrics: https://mn.gov/covid19/data/response-prep/public-health-risk-measures.jsp
New Break Through Cases site: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/stats/vbt.html
Monthly business update from DEED, Revenue, Commerce:
Inflation and the Federal Reserve’s announcement to begin plans to roll back measures in place during the pandemic to shore up the economy set the stage for higher mortgage rates ahead. And existing home sales continue to surge…
Saint Paul’s Restaurant Resiliency Program is in its 3rd phase, expanding to cultural corridors. All restaurant operators and industry stakeholders located within the city are welcome to register and take part in this program.
Read more updates in our weekly Chamber Advocacy Update.
Upcoming SBA Virtual Panel Discussion, on Oct 27, 3pm: Company Culture and Recruitment and Retention
Find out what’s going on with your Chamber on our Events Calendar! Cap off a year of equity leadership programming with our Equity Summit on Nov 9. And, yes, save the date on December 9 for our annual Holiday Open House – this year is our turn to thank the restaurants!
Your Chamber’s 2022 Leadership Saint Paul class is filling up! If you haven’t yet submitted your application, you can do so here.
What the influx of new jobs means for the work-from-home culture. Permanent remote work will have lasting impact on U.S. Cities. Meanwhile, workers keep quitting at sky-high rates, driving up wages.
Introduction to ConnextMSP: from classrooms to boardrooms a more diverse Minnesota is on the way.
Morning Consult’s latest Income Equity report: Inequality Falls in October. A tighter labor market is starting to benefit low-income adults, and financial vulnerability fell – despite expiration of extra federal jobless benefits.