Affordable housing, especially naturally occurring affordable housing (or workforce housing), has been described as “critical infrastructure” — a term used by governments to describe assets that are essential for the functioning of a society and economy.
This is not overblown rhetoric; affordable housing is essential. Families need a safe and dignified place to raise children; workers need homes near job opportunities that are within their budgets; employers need a locally housed workforce so that they can grow their businesses.
Over the last two years, as the affordable housing crisis has worsened across Minnesota, and in particular in the Twin Cities metro area, a patchwork response by governments has been to consider or implement broader housing regulations. This is often a political response to vocal activists who persuade unimaginative policymakers with truly heart-wrenching stories. But the “more-regulation” housing strategy from the city of Minneapolis (and other cities) will not serve