Chart of the Day: Twin Cities Rents Versus Vacancy

MPR News published an excellent article yesterday about the lack of housing for people with Section 8 vouchers. It contained this eye opening chart about the state of the rental market in the Twin Cities these days.

Here’s a quote from the piece:

Voucher holders usually have just a few months to find an apartment to rent before the housing agency takes it back and gives it to the next person on the waitlist. That’s why Douglas spends a lot of her free time looking for housing for other people, even though she rents a townhouse she loves in Brooklyn Park.

“I’ll just do some housing searches and every time I find someone, I’ll call them myself and ask them and then I’ll post it in the group for someone,” Douglas said. “We’ve had a few people who’ve found a place in there and they’ll come back and say ‘I found the place thank you!'”

Douglas has had a voucher for nearly 20 years. She does temp work now as a home health care aid but would struggle to afford rent for her and her daughter. Back when she first got her voucher, she said she found an apartment in a month.

“It was really easy back then to get a place with Section 8. Some owners were like, ‘if you don’t have Section 8 we’re not going to rent to you because it’s guaranteed rent,'” Douglas said. “But now, times have changed.”

Douglas almost lost her voucher before because she couldn’t find a place to rent.

A few years ago, Douglas had to move because her apartment failed the annual inspection. It had broken locks and mold that made her and her daughters sick. She only moved into that place in the first place because her voucher was about to expire.

“If you lose your voucher you’re homeless,” she said. “You just don’t have nowhere to go.”

The article also makes the counter-intuitive claim that policies like requiring landlords to accept Section 8 might not help the situation.

he “housing crisis” continues to get worse in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro. Check out the whole article for more on this critical issue.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.