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MPUC ISAIAH Team Rent Stabilization Information Session

The ISAIAH organization has provided this background:

On the St. Paul ballot in November, voters will see a proposal for rent stabilization. Rent stabilization is proposed as a way for the city to address the housing crisis. Since our church considers both voting and housing justice to be moral responsibilities, we urge you to learn about this proposal. 

We have an affordable housing crisis in our whole region but especially in St. Paul, where 40% of people are in poverty; 50% are people of color. More than 50 percent of residents identify as renters totaling 57,621 households, according to St. Paul officials. (source) Approximately 6% of the majority BIPOC student population in St. Paul has experienced homelessness during the school year. Over half of Saint Paul residents are renters and around 60% of households of color rent (vs only 40% of white households) so issues that impact renters are a racial justice concern. Currently, a landlord can increase rent multiple times a year by any amount. Some landlords are doing so to purposely displace people and start over with higher-income tenants. Displaced renters struggle to find new housing on short notice. Moving and homelessness are very disruptive, especially for families and children’s education.

Rent stabilization would allow landlords to raise the rent by up to 3% in a 12-month period, with certain exceptions for changes to property taxes, cost of living, and major improvements. The 3% is comparable to the median rent increase average of between 2.3%-2.7% in the metro area and ensures renters a stable, affordable, and dignified home. A few decades ago, the state legislature voted to remove a city’s authority to pass rent stabilization/control without expressed permission from voters. This year, MN Senate Republicans proposed that cities couldn’t advance rent stabilization/control even with voter permission, but their proposal did not move forward. If more than 50% of Saint Paul voters vote yes for rent stabilization, it will be enacted city-wide in May 2022. We will be the first city in MN to have rent stabilization.

God calls us to care for the least among us, so we look forward to further discussion at the info session on Sunday, Sept. 12, 11:30 am after worship.

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