City Council approves zoning change to allow for new type of innovative affordable housing

 The City Council approved an ordinance today amending the City’s zoning code to allow for a new type of affordable housing for people transitioning out of homelessness.

The intentional community cluster development ordinance allows nonprofit organizations, government agencies or healthcare agencies to create collections of small housing units (tiny homes) and a common house or rooming houses with shared facilities on a city lot that is at least 10,000 square feet. The developments are allowed in any part of the city with the exception of industrial zoning districts.  

The policy change is one of several strategies the City has deployed to address the affordable housing crisis in Minneapolis. The amendment also includes development standards to ensure that intentional community cluster developments are safe for residents and are compatible with their surroundings. While new to Minneapolis, similar housing options have been provided in other cities across the country – including Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; Madison, Wisconsin; and Seattle, Washington. 

“At a time when we are facing an affordable housing and homelessness crisis, we need to ensure that all options are on the table,” said Mayor Jacob Frey. “Council Members Gordon, Schroeder and Ellison worked directly with community members who are affected by the crisis in developing an innovative new option. Groups like Street Voices of Change and Hennepin Healthcare are proving that when we allow community members to lead, we can better identify solutions for some of our most pressing challenges.” 

“I want to commend the great work of Street Voices of Change and their allies,” said Council Member Cam Gordon. “This is their victory as much as anyone’s. I also want to commend City staff, Hennepin Health, the Minnesota Design Center, and everyone else who worked on this for centering Street Voices and their advocacy for people who have experienced homelessness.” 

“With today’s vote, we have one more tool to help solve our housing crisis. Intentional community cluster developments will meaningfully address one of the biggest needs in our community – deeply affordable housing for folks who have experienced homelessness,” said Council Member Jeremy Schroeder. “I’m especially proud that this ordinance was crafted in partnership with the people it is designed to serve, and I look forward to seeing it implemented.” 

“The effects of homelessness on one’s health and wellbeing are profound beyond measure. We know that homelessness is deadly,” said Council Member Jeremiah Ellison. “To be able to create a pathway for deeply affordable housing is a huge success, but certainly doesn’t mean the work is over. I’d like to especially thank Street Voices for Change for helping us shape this policy from the ground up. I look forward to continuing to advance ways to increase access to safe, affordable, dignified housing for our community members.”


Published Nov 22, 2019



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