For the second year in a row, the City of Minneapolis met its goal of funding the affordable housing trust fund above $10 million. These funds pay for low-income rental units and developments across the city. A critical component for community success is safe and affordable housing. The City of Minneapolis created the AHTF in 2003 to assist in the development of affordable housing for virtually all population needs: senior, homeless, AIDS, families, workforce, veterans, artists and other special needs. Since inception, over 6,100 affordable units have been renovated or built. Along with the Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Tax Increment Financing, Housing Revenue Bonds and funding from other public and private partners, the AHTF provides the essential gap financing making projects feasible and attractive to private market investors.
Desegregating our City
As shown in the maps below, school segregation is on the rise. Dramatic segregation of our school system took place between 1995 and 2014. More than half of the elementary schools in Minneapolis and S. Paul are 80 percent people of color. Minneapolis was fully integrated in the 1980s but now well over a dozen schools are more than 80 percent people of color and at least two schools are almost entirely white. Desegregating our schools is one step in desegregating our city. One way to do this is by diversifying our neighborhood housing options, including promoting and encouraging affordable housing in areas that are more traditionally affluent. That is why are office is working on measures to increase the funding to the affordable housing trust fund and explore inclusionary zoning ordinances. Stay tuned for updates as we move these measures forward.
Increasing School Segregation Maps, MN Department of Education
Downtown Minneapolis Safety
CM Frey in partnership with the Downtown Improvement District (DID), the Warehouse District Business Association (WDBA), and the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) have been developing an action plan to re-imagine nightlife in the Warehouse District. A task force with strong public and private sector participation is actively working to make sure we’re doing all that we can to make this key downtown neighborhood a safe, vibrant, and thriving place to socialize at all hours.
A new ordinance aimed at easing the burden of voter registration took effect March 1, 2016. The policy, authored by Council Member and Election Committee Chair Jacob Frey aims to reduce barriers to voter participation by providing renters with voting registration information as soon as they move in. This change is especially impacting in Minneapolis - a community where more than half of all residents are renters. "Americans have fought to expand the franchise to the near-universal suffrage of adult citizens," said Council Member Frey. "Our arcane system of registration stands as one of the biggest barriers to voter participation." By providing notice about registration requirements at the time of first occupancy, the City hopes to ease access to the ballot box for all qualified voters who are renters. Landlords will need to provide voter registration forms to new tenants upon lease signing, but there is no obligation by landlords to collect or mail in voter registration forms. Packets can be requested free of charge by completing the online request form, accessing the PDFs to provide to tenants electronically or to download and print for distribution, or calling 311 to make a request (from outside of Minneapolis, dial 612-673-3000). The information is available in English, Somali, Spanish & Hmong.
Eradication of Gender Discrimination
Council Member Frey authored a resolution in 2015 that supports the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The point of the resolution and the local initiative is to frame local concerns of gender equality and inclusion in a human rights context. It underscores the importance of implementing gender responsive policies in local municipalities, like Minneapolis. Next step, an analysis of city departments gender equality initiatives and policies.
Last February (2016), the Minneapolis City Council passed an ordinance change as part of ongoing efforts to decriminalize marijuana. The change, authored by Council Member Jacob Frey and co-authored by Council Member Andrew Johnson, deleted the section of the code classifying marijuana possession as a misdemeanor, which is a criminal charge. "We are finally moving towards a system that does not ruin your ability to get a job because you once got caught with a joint" said Council Member Frey. The deletion eliminates any discretion to charge under the city ordinance, which is rarely done. It reverts any charge to a petty misdemeanor per state law, which is not a criminal charge. In his presentation at the public hearing, CM Frey highlighted that this change is also important to advance racial equity in the City of Minneapolis. "Notably, marijuana use among white and black populations is roughly the same, but black men are as much as 5-10 times more likely to get arrested for possession," said Frey. "This change is a step toward the dismantling of drug policies that further exacerbate the equity gap by crippling the opportunities for people of color for jobs, loans, housing, and benefits."
In the Spring of 2016, the Minneapolis City Council passed a national model for pollution control and eventually climate change. Championed by Council Member Jacob Frey, the adopted changes are related to the city's Pollution Control Annual Billing (PCAB). Here is a summary of the changes:
- Pay by emissions rather than pollution control devices: Prior to this change, businesses (mainly industrial) in Minneapolis were charged a fee by the air pollution remediation efforts taken rather than paying by the pollution produced. The new laws base fees for pollution on the amount of emissions a business produces. The main pollutant types are PM 2.5 (fine particulates) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Research shows that the health effects of all these pollutants are greater in densely populated areas such as Minneapolis.
- Align fees to service: Fees are being changed to more directly align with services provided. Most notably is the removal of a sanitary connection fee for small businesses. The biggest beneficiary of this fee removal are small offices, retail space, and restaurants.
- Proactive business: Businesses who submit voluntary emission reduction projects will be allowed to be temporarily exempt from the fee for a period of two to five years based on the amount of pollution they are able to reduce. This exemption on top of the incentive programs offered through the Green Business Cost Share Program (up to $45,000) demonstrates that the City of Minneapolis is dedicated to working with our businesses partners in reducing pollution.
Council Member Frey authored initiatives to re-purposed vacant lots for urban agriculture. The initiatives allow for additional urban agricultural farming in both community gardens and market farms. At least 47 additional vacant lots will be available for growing food. The changes will also allow for longer lease terms instead of the previous city policy limiting terms to one year - a major impediment for urban farmers.
Last updated Feb 21, 2017