Saint Paul, MN - On Wednesday, August 28, the Saint Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) received a quarterly update on the City’s Housing Trust Fund. The Housing Trust Fund was developed by Mayor Melvin Carter to produce, preserve, and protect housing affordability for Saint Paul residents. The contributions of flexible City dollars along with Federal and State financing tools is intended to address the current crisis of housing affordability in Saint Paul and invest in a future city that works for all of us.
“Safe, stable and affordable housing is a vital need for every family,” said Mayor Melvin Carter. “Saint Paul’s housing trust fund and fair policy agenda ensure we are meeting this need today, and for our city's future.”
Housing Trust Fund priorities are directed by community conversations, data regarding displacement and gentrification pressures, and the Fair Housing report completed in 2017. A recent HousingLink study affirmed the need for investments at all levels of affordability, specifically at for those with incomes at or below 30% of average median income (AMI).
“I am proud of the success we’ve had so far through the Housing Trust Fund,” said Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Chair Chris Tolbert. “We will continue to invest in strategies that allow for our vibrant communities to prosper.”
Two major investments from the Housing Trust Fund include the launch of the 4(d) Affordable Housing Incentive Program, and Community Land Trust financing. The 4(d) Affordable Housing Incentive Program has preserved 419 units at or below 60% AMI, including nearly 200 units at or below 50% AMI. All units must commit to remaining affordable for 10 years to receive a tax reduction benefit.
Four applications were received for Community Land Trust financing totaling $649,000 to provide 11 units. The Community Land Trusts would retain ownership of the land for 99 years, while low-income homeowners receive the benefit of ownership at a more affordable rate.
Both programs are rooted in anti-displacement policies and are aimed at community members seeking affordable rental and ownership opportunities in neighborhoods where they already live.
“Providing housing for residents at all levels of affordability requires a creative and collaborative approach across departments,” said Housing Director Kayla Schuchman. “City staff from the departments of Planning and Economic Development, Safety and Inspections, Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity and the new Office of Financial Empowerment are all dedicated to this mission.”
Future Housing Trust Fund investments include the Rent Supplement Pilot and a downpayment assistance program aimed at households with incomes at or below 30% AMI., providing further rental and ownership opportunities at deeper levels of housing affordability than previous investments. Both programs are aimed to launch by the end of the year.
Additionally, City staff are building a citywide inventory of Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) as called for by City Council Resolution 18-1204. The inventory will help staff direct appropriate financing to preserve NOAH units, and provide a deeper understanding of risks facing current NOAH stock.
For more information, visit stpaul.gov/Housing-Trust-Fund.