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Minneapolis Public Housing Authority Is Building New Multifamily Housing. Is this a good thing?

Minneapolis Public Housing Authority Is Building New Multifamily Housing. Is this a good thing?

By LINDSEY FENNER When I received the community meeting notice about a new three-story apartment building directly behind my house, my first concern was for my garden, and how much sunlight it might lose. When I realized this was a redevelopment project by the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, I knew I needed to dig a little deeper. What would happen to my neighbors living in the existing public housing duplex? How is this project funded? In the very back corner of my mind, I remembered something from a few years ago: concerns about the privatization of public housing. Did that have anything to do with this project? The redevelopment on my block is part of a larger, city-wide project by the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. MPHA is best known for the large apartment towers they run. Less well-known are over 700 MPHA single family homes, duplexes, and fourplexes scattered throughout Minneapolis. MPHA is redeveloping 16 of these “scattered sites,” including the one behind me in East Phillips, and several in Midtown Phillips. These existing homes will be demolished and turned into 3-story, 6-unit buildings of 2 and 3 bedrooms, totaling 84 new units citywide. According to MPHA, the current residents, who tend to be working class black and brown immigrant families, will have temporary housing during construction, will have housing in the new buildings, and will not see any increase in rent. MPHA secured $4.6 million from the American Rescue Plan, approved by the Minneapolis City Council in July 2021, to fund the bulk of the planned redevelopments. The proposed buildings were designed by DJR Architects and use a new modular system developed by Rise Modular, based in Owatonna, MN. This modular system is touted to be of higher-quality, more environmentally friendly, and cheaper and faster to produce - which means a briefer period of displacement for current residents. At community meetings, neighbors raise questions about size, design, and [...]

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