Our View: Start by sharing housing horrors
A 2014 study determined 4,400 new housing units were needed in Duluth by 2020 -- about 730 per year. As of about a year ago, however, only about 500 homes were being created. We're falling behind. As a community, we aren't keeping pace with the d...
A 2014 study determined 4,400 new housing units were needed in Duluth by 2020 - about 730 per year. As of about a year ago, however, only about 500 homes were being created. We're falling behind. As a community, we aren't keeping pace with the demand and the identified need.
As a result, "Too many Duluth households pay more than they can afford for housing or are forced to accept substandard conditions," as Joel Kilgour, chairman of the Affordable Housing Coalition in Duluth, said in a statement last week. "It's time to build a housing campaign that really makes a difference."
That can start a week from today with the first in a series of neighborhood summits sponsored by the 20-organization Duluth coalition. Summits on Tuesday, May 8 will be from 5-7 p.m. in Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 51st Avenue East and Glenwood Street, and First Lutheran Church, 1100 E. Superior St. Two more summits are scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Thursday, May 10 at the Damiano Center, 206 W. Fourth St., and First Covenant Church, 2101 W. Second St.
"Renters and homeowners alike are encouraged to attend and share their stories and ideas for improving Duluth's housing market ... (and) their experiences and challenges with housing," Kilgour said. "Duluth has an aging housing stock, one of the least affordable rental markets in the state, and not enough units to meet community need."
Duluth is far from alone in its tireless attempts to address the need for housing for residents of all income levels. A statewide Homes For All coalition of 214 organizations is seeking $140 million in state bonding money this legislative session in St. Paul to create or preserve homes for more than 4,600 households.
In Duluth, a step back now to hear the stories of those struggling because of our inability to keep pace with the identified demand, to reassess, and to brainstorm ways forward can help lead to solutions.
But only if we participate and share. Next week offers prime opportunities, and at an opportune moment.