Defend Glendale & Public Housing Coalition is a grassroots campaign of residents organizing to prevent the privatization of Glendale & the rest of public housing in Minneapolis. The objective is to ensure zero displacement, eliminate systematic gentrification, protect, and build more public housing, and minimize racial and economic inequities currently facing Minneapolis and Hennepin County.
We reject all of MPHA’s privatization plans, including their plans to privatize the Elliot Twins and displace residents.
The campaign began in 2014 in the Glendale Townhomes and spread to other public housing buildings, to stop MPHA’s plans to privatize public housing and displace our families and communities, including thousands of low-income families of color, Black and Black Muslim communities, refugees, immigrants, East Africans, elders/seniors, and people with disabilities, all of whom are at risk of being displaced.
Below are our demands to pass resolutions, ordinances, policies and bills at the City of Minneapolis and State to protect public housing & build more public housing!
- Protect all public housing and build more: Create a permanent-public policy, county, city- wide ordinances, and state bills to protect all public housing units as public housing in Minneapolis and build more public housing. This includes 42 high rises, over 740 homes, Glendale Townhomes, more public housing homes, and over 6,040 current public housing units. Prohibit the sale, or lease of land to private developers/investors, or MPHA becoming a private investor, charging market prices for profit through Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, or Land Use Restrictive Agreements, etc. Adhere to the permanent protection land trust Declaration of Trust (DOT).
- Stop the sale and lease of public housing buildings: Public housing properties are currently the first target of conversion by MPHA to private developers and investors. This includes Glendale Townhomes, Cedar Riverside Public Housing, Elliot Twins, and Horn Towers. This also includes public housing buildings in Wards that predominantly house East African Somali and Oromo elders that are the first target, and all public housing properties.
- Eliminate future displacements: Build more public housing as is 30% of income for rent for low- income tenants, and stop the privatization of public housing to minimize displacement, homelessness, the housing crisis, social & economic crisis. And, approve Glendale Townhomes’ application for local historical designation at Minneapolis City Council.
- Fund public housing as a public good: Access public funds from the State, County, and City to keep public housing public. Funding for public housing (through the City Levy, County Funs, Affordable Housing fund, etc.) must be added to the City of Minneapolis, County, and State legislative agenda. Public funding to private developers that build temporarily limited-income-based housing for low-income families must be eliminated. Instead, that funding should be used to build more public housing, as well as funding & sustaining public housing, which provides a long-term safety net, and provides social and economic stability to low-income residents of Minneapolis.
- Hold MPHA accountable to fix & repair Glendale Townhomes: MPHA must eliminate its “zero budget” policy for Glendale repairs and maintenance. This is the only option to preserve Glendale, as it is now (truly public housing) and to not convert Glendale to any private development, which would permanently displace current residents.
- Investigate MPHA: Investigate the legal/working relationship between MPHA and Minneapolis City Council, including the shift in mission in MPHA’s “Strategic Vision and Capital Plan for 2018-2020”, which inappropriately abandons the provision/mission of public housing for low income/poor families, in favor of housing for wealthier persons whose income is 50%-80% AMI, which far exceeds the income of MPHA’s current tenants, including MPHA’s proposal for construction, management, and ownership of high-end market rate housing by MPHA as a public agency.See our full demands here: DG&PHC Options
Over 11,000 low-income public housing residents will be displaced and face homelessness if we don’t stop:
- Mayor Jacob Frey and CPED’s (the Community Planning and Economic Development department) partnership in making these privatization plans a reality, including MPHA’s plans to join Mayor Frey’s controversial upzoning proposals with plans for developers to build privatized fourplexes on public land. This was announced at special working session meeting of MPHA’s Board of Commissioners on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.
- MPHA’s 2018 MTW Annual Plan, which proposes to privatize all public housing properties in the coming years and turn it over to private investors. MPHA has admitted these private investors could completely take over the properties, and in the event of foreclosure, investors could seize the properties and dissolve MPHA’s .01% ownership .
- According to a handout from MPHA’s May 16 board meeting, the privatization plans would start with Glendale Townhomes (Ward 2), Elliot Twins Tower 1 and Tower 2 (Ward 6), a family home on Pierce Avenue NE (Ward 3), 1710 Plymouth Ave (Ward 5), 809 Spring St NE and 1900 3rd St NE (both Ward 3). MPHA will propose to use RAD and disposition of properties through Section 18 Disposition, which means transferring of ownership to private developers, if HUD and the City of Minneapolis approve. In addition, the rest of the high-rises and scattered sites would follow. As a result, instead of living in public housing with 100% protection, the few residents that are left after displacement may be living in privatized housing subsidized through Section 8, where rents will be increased by 300% as Secretary Carson approved, private developers will have 99.99% ownership, and residents will be at the mercy of private developers, as Section 8 vouchers are no longer accepted in Minneapolis by private developers, and the waiting list for Section 8 vouchers is between 5 to 7 years.
- MPHA’s request to waive Declarations of Trust from any/all public housing properties or any other privatization schemes, including Land Use Restriction Agreements (LURAs), Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs), RAD (Rental Assistance Demonstration), “Voluntary” Conversations, Declaration of Restrictive Covenants (DORCs) (which is another backdoor privatization mechanism with little protections for low-income tenants), or any loans, bonding or other financing schemes that would help privatize any public housing properties in the coming years, all of which would lead to the displacement of thousands of low-income residents, who are majority Black, Black Muslims, disabled and seniors from Minneapolis.
- MPHA converting from a public agency to a new privatized nonprofit company that would operate like a private developer, adding new units catered to much higher incomes than public housing serves, worsening the gentrification of Minneapolis—all on public land.
- Director Greg Russ’s privatization plans of coercion, where residents wouldn’t be allowed to return to their now-privatized homes they can’t afford after they are displaced—unless they hand over to MPHA their Section 8 vouchers in order to boost private investor confidence.
- The use of Area Median Income (AMI) policy to calculate rents for low-income tenants in public and income based housing. This is not affordable nor equitable for low-income tenants city and statewide.
- MPHA’s document entitled “Strategic Vision & Capital Plan”, a plan that will deliver Minneapolis public housing into private investor hands. MPHA’s Board of Commissioners approved that plan on Wednesday May 23, 2018, in a meeting where no public comment was allowed, and public residents were not notified.
- MPHA’s non-public, secret planning process beginning over a year ago, when it hired a multi-member team of highly paid private-sector consultants, and has held planning strategy sessions (September 5, October 26-27 and December 8, 2017; and January 12 and May 16, 2018). MPHA staff and commissioners have done this without any approval, input or involvement from residents and the greater community, in clear violation of its public commitments to involve residents and community members throughout its planning process for the future of public housing in Minneapolis. This includes their latest document, the “Strategic Vision & Capital Plan” that has no translation in any language, and was adopted in secrecy, and during the Holy month of Ramadan when Muslim tenants are fasting, which was quite disrespectful.
Here’s some of our key statements:
For months, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) and its director Gregory Russ have insisted there are no current plans for privatizing Minneapolis public housing. However, a “portfolio strategy” document from December 2017, put together by MPHA contractor CSG Advisors, Inc. after months of analysis, includes detailed recommendations for privatization, redevelopment, and other measures.
Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA), with the backing of the one million dollars from McKnight Foundation, is funding what it calls a “development team” to facilitate the sale of public housing properties to private investors. Through a series of public records requests, the Defend Glendale & Public Housing Coalition (DG&PHC) has learned who comprises this privatization team. Absent from this team is a single representative of the thousands of residents who currently live in public housing owned by MPHA.
As rents continue to rise at an alarming rate, affordable housing has become one of the hottest topics of political debate in Minneapolis. It featured prominently in last fall’s local elections, with candidates agreeing that the city is experiencing a housing crisis and that we need to build more affordable units. At Mayor Jacob Frey’s recent Affordable Housing Community Forum on Feb. 15th, 2018, he discussed the need for more “deeply affordable” units in Minneapolis – housing that, as he defined it, is set at 30% of Area Median Income (AMI). “Deeply affordable” certainly sounds nice, but the reality is not so good.