Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis and St. Paul settle federal housing complaints, agree to further review

May 17, 2016
A year after neighborhood groups and affordable housing advocates filed federal complaints saying Minneapolis and St. Paul contributed to racial and ethnic segregation, community members said they are cautiously optimistic that change is on the way.
     The complaints by the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH), lodged with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the Twin Cities concentrated affordable housing in “low-opportunity, high-poverty communities” — allegations the cities deny.
     But instead of having HUD investigate the claims, the cities opted to negotiate voluntary compliance agreements. The agreements require that they include more community members as they analyze and address regional affordable housing issues.

Minneapolis and St. Paul settle federal housing complaints, agree to further review

May 17, 2015
A year after neighborhood groups and affordable housing advocates filed federal complaints saying Minneapolis and St. Paul contributed to racial and ethnic segregation, community members said they are cautiously optimistic that change is on the way.
     The complaints by the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH), lodged with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the Twin Cities concentrated affordable housing in “low-opportunity, high-poverty communities” — allegations the cities deny.
     But instead of having HUD investigate the claims, the cities opted to negotiate voluntary compliance agreements. The agreements require that they include more community members as they analyze and address regional affordable housing issues.

Feds accuse Minnesota landlord of housing discrimination

April 22, 2015
A federal housing agency alleges a Twin Cities property manager refused to rent to Hmong family members.
     The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the allegations Wednesday.
     The agency alleges Page Edmunds and his business, Renter's Avenue, located in Champlin, made discriminatory statements to the family because of their national origin, and retaliated against them for exercising their fair housing rights.

Civil rights complaint seeks to stop cities from concentrating low-income housing in high-poverty neighborhoods

April 14, 2015
A civil rights attorney based in Washington, D.C., thinks he has the method for forcing changes in how and where St. Paul and Minneapolis locate low-income housing.
     Michael Allen did not file a lawsuit against the cities and their joint Housing Finance Board. Instead, he filed a complaint with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that, if successful, could put tens of millions of dollars in block grant and other federal poverty grants at risk.
     That’s not the result that Allen and the local complainants — the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing and three Minneapolis neighborhood organizations — necessarily want. Rather, the groups bringing the complaint want the two cities to stop over-concentrating low-income housing in already impoverished neighborhoods. Doing so, even while assuring the federal government that they are not, is in violation of both the federal Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act, the complaint says.

What are the limits of no-pet policies?

July 26, 2009
Michelle Swib was perusing the Grand Forks Herald in search of housing when she came across a listing that interested her: "3 Bed, 2 bath, laundry, dishwasher, air, private entrance." But it had a restriction. "No dogs."
     Now that restriction is the subject of a federal discrimination lawsuit that offers a look at a growing conflict between landlords' no-pet policies and disability advocates who argue there is little difference between a wheelchair ramp and a golden retriever.
     According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, one of Swib's two children has "mental disabilities and requires the assistance of a service animal to help manage her conditions."
     Swib, of Roseau, Minn., claims that property owner Daryl Bushee said he didn't have to accept service animals and he had won a lawsuit against another tenant with the same request. Bushee responds that Swib didn't provide sufficient proof of her child's disability, and even if she had, the dog would "have jeopardized the health, safety, or property of other tenants," according to court documents.

Study: Evidence of mortgage bias against Hispanics

February 13, 2009
A newly released report is saying that mortgage lending disparities against Hispanics, blacks and other minorities in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area occurred even among the high-income earners, and apparently played a role in the area's ongoing subprime mortgage crisis.
     Among other things, the study, released this week by the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota's Law School, shows that Hispanics, blacks and Asians were more likely than whites to endure loan-application rejections – and more likely to receive predatory subprime loans -- regardless of their income.
     Most strikingly, the report, which examined nearly every single loan application processed in the Twin Cities from 2004 to 2006, found that the requests for purchases and refinances from high-income minorities were denied more frequently than those from low-income whites.

Minn. cities consider going after lenders

February 02, 2008
City leaders in Minneapolis and St. Paul are exploring legal action against the subprime lenders who financed the cities' explosion of foreclosed properties.
     While the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department is weighing action that alleges racially discriminatory lending patterns, the city attorney's office is researching lawsuits that other cities have filed against subprime lenders. St. Paul also is exploring its legal options for dealing with boarded-up housing.
     Cleveland and Baltimore last month sued lenders, setting off what could be a wave of such actions. Baltimore alleged that Wells Fargo made predatory loans in black neighborhoods, which the lender denied.

A senior condo puzzler: Safety vs. privacy

September 17, 2007
From the opening day in the early 1970s, people loved living in the high-rise condo in Edina. In fact, they liked it so much that many never left.
     Today, half of the residents are senior citizens. Last spring, someone tried to flush an adult diaper down a toilet. The overflow of water caused so much damage to walls and ceilings in units below that residents had to move out for repairs.

The need for affordable housing continues to grow, and public policy isn't keeping pace.

July 25, 2007
A July 17 editorial ("Metro failing to meet housing goals") recognized affordable housing as fundamental to a strong region. A lack of fair housing opportunities weakens not only the social and political fabric of our cities, but our economic outlook as well.
     The need for affordable housing in our communities continues to grow. By 2010, a projected 190,000 households in the region will lack access to adequate housing.

Twin Cities Mulim and East African workers file harassment lawsuit against Transportation Dept.

January 10, 2007
Nine current and former Twin Cities employees of MV Transportation today filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, alleging that for over a year they suffered severe and constant harassment, abuse, and other discriminatory treatment on account of their status as immigrants and Muslims.

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