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Golden Valley studies affordable housing crunch

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Golden Valley has seen a boom in new apartments under construction or opening. The Hello Apartments boast numerous amenities. The Talo Apartments includes a lazy river. But to live there you’ll likely pay $1,700 to $1,800 a month for rent.
Housing is considered affordable when it costs no more than 30 percent of a person’s income, which in Golden Valley is roughly in the $900 to $1,000 a month range. Even that can be a tough bar to reach for seniors on fixed incomes or young people starting out in the workplace.
“In this current market, it’s very tight. We have low vacancy rates. And as a result, what we are seeing with such high demand for rental property,” said Christine Hart with Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County, a nonprofit that advocates for affordable housing. “We’re seeing new buyers coming in, renovating a property, and raising rents $300 to $400, all the while changing their screening criteria, so the current residents who had been living there either can’t afford to stay or oftentimes don’t qualify to stay.”
City officials joined affordable housing advocates on Tuesday night for a work session on the issue. For Alfred Lewald, the issue hit home about a year ago when he says he found out 70 of his neighbors at a former affordable housing complex were given a notice to vacate when new owners took over.
“It didn’t matter that they were paying their rent, that they had lived there as much as 10 years, they were given as little as 30 days notice to vacate,” said Lewald.
Lewald added, “Currently there is an auto repair shop on Highway 55 that’s advertising jobs for $12 an hour. That sounds wonderful, but the person who takes that job will have less than $600 a month for housing if we use the 30 percent rule.”
Golden Valley did adopt a policy last fall that requires any housing project that receives city incentives to have some affordable housing.
“We’re really excited that they passed that in September,” said Hart. “That hopefully will add new affordable units as the years go on with new development.”
The city is also implementing an annual affordable housing work plan, something Golden Valley has never had.
Corey Bork, reporting

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