November 6, 2014
By Andy Barnett, Frogtown Rondo Home Fund
The strong advocacy that helped secure a record $100 million in housing bonds from the last legislative session started to become tangible recently when Minnesota Housing awarded funds to create or preserve almost 4000 units of affordable housing statewide. These awards advance key priorities for Frogtown Rondo Home Fund partners including increasing the supply of affordable family rental, improving options for people experiencing homelessness, eliminating barriers to homeownership, using community land trusts to establish long-term affordable homeownership, and converting vacant buildings into quality homes. Frogtown and Rondo projects account for over 13% of all projects funded in Saint Paul.
Here are the details of the funded projects in Rondo and Frogtown:
- BROWNstone – A mixed-use, transit-oriented development by Model Cities that will create 35 one and two bedroom apartments at Victoria and University
- Jamestown Homes – The rehabilitation of 73 one, two, and three bedroom apartments at Central and Dale, this project preserves the affordability of this existing housing including much needed family-sized apartments and apartments dedicated to housing people who have experienced chronic homelessness.
- Community Keys – A down payment assistance program, created by Neighborworks Home Partners, to help residents purchase homes in the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods
- Green Line Homebuyer Initiated Program – A Neighborworks Home Partners program that allows buyers to acquire and rehabilitate single family homes along University Avenue and finance them using a community land trust model
- Frogtown Rondo Home Fund Area Strategic Acquisition Fund – A source of development financing administered by the Twin Cities Community Land Bank to acquire, hold, and rehab properties identified through community input as “strategic”
Here are a few other St. Paul projects of particular interest to our work:
- Skyline Tower – Just outside home fund area, this project rehabs 504 studio, one, and two bedroom apartments, preserving their long-term affordability.
- Higher Ground St. Paul – Catholic Charities’ new vision for the Dorothy Day Center, based on the success of its Minneapolis Higher Ground shelter, will provide a continuum of housing options to help people transition from homelessness.
- Prior Crossing – Youth homelessness has been a concern for partners involved in FRAN and SPPN. This development creates 44 supportive housing apartments for homeless youth near the Fairview Station.
While this is a day to celebrate our achievements, it is also a good time to remember the power of advocacy and keep organizing for the next legislative session. Housing advocates have a strong agenda and a big tail wind from recent success. It is never too early to start thinking about the projects that the organization might want to apply for next year, like owner-occupied rental, rental rehab loans and home improvement assistance for mid-income seniors.