Housing Call to Action

Warren Hanson, President, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund

Last week, Warren Hanson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, spoke to the Jobs, Incorporated Board of Directors and other stakeholders in the area who have an interest in the local housing situation.

Mr. Hanson’s message was clear: community vitality relies on providing a range of housing options. Affordable and available housing is essential to attracting and retaining talent.

He shared the recommendations of the Minnesota Housing Task Force, a group of private and public sector leaders who spent nearly a year listening to residents, employers, developers, policymakers and others in communities around the state. Over and over again, members of the task force heard the same message–Minnesota is at risk of losing a key competitive advantage, housing.

The task force has released a set of six recommendations for policy makers and others:

  1. Commit to homes as a priority. Create a broader and strong public commitment to the urgent need for mor homes that are more affordable to more Minnesotans.
  2. Preserve the homes we have. Keep the homes we already have, especially those that are most affordable.
  3. Build more homes. Build 300,000 new homes by 2030, across all types, prices, and locations to stabilize prices and meet demand.
  4. Increase home stability. Assist twice as many people at risk of losing their homes because of rent increases, evictions, and heavy cost burdens.
  5. Link homes and services. Build stronger links between where we live and the services we may need to live stable lives.
  6. Support and strengthen home-ownership. Create pathways to sustainable home-ownership, with a focus on removing barriers for households of color. 

Mr. Hanson said that these recommendations will not become reality without the support of Minnesotans. 

A Call to Action

Mr. Hanson challenged those in attendance with two strong calls to action:

  1. Help build awareness and understanding of housing as key to Minnesota’s economic competitive edge.
  2. Help generate support for the private action and public policies needed to create and sustain a healthy and affordable housing market.

Implications for the Thief River Falls Area

As our larger employers continue to grow, we need to recruit new residents to live in the area, but we will not be successful in that effort if we do not have an adequate supply of housing.

Certainly, we need to recognize the importance of housing in the area and the fact that it is one of the biggest keys to being economically competitive. We also need to work together–public and private sector partners–to find solutions to meeting growing housing needs. With almost 40 in attendance, including many elected officials and private sector partners, it is clear that there is a strong desire to work together to address this important issue.

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