Half of Minneapolis renters have unaffordable rent, paying more than 30% of their income toward it--with 26% of renters putting more than half their income to housing, according to Rise of the Renter Nation, a Right to the City report released by Occupy Homes MN today. While homeowners continue to lose their homes in record numbers, average rent in the Twin Cities has just passed $1,000. Many are unable to afford their housing easily or at all, especially in communities of color.
A group of spirited Occupy Homes members and passerby brought those statistics to life in Hennepin County Government Center today, with an interactive game show called The Price is Wrong, which demonstrated the cycle of the housing crisis. With many homeowners still facing eviction, and rent prices skyrocketing, Twin Cities families are left with nowhere to go.
Nationally, over 11 million people pay over half their income to housing costs alone. And costs are on the rise. Minneapolis tenant Caleb Murphey said he is told his rent is controlled by the market, meaning his rent keeps going up without any added amenities. “My rent shouldn't go up because they're building high-priced condos across the street. If my rent's going to go up, it's because I'm going to move into the high-priced condo across the street.”
Sergio Ceballos has fought his foreclosure with Chase for over a year, but negotiations have stalled over the price of the home. "I want to be able to support my children with stable housing on the street they grew up on. All we ask for is a fair negotiation, to sell my home back to me so that I can continue to pay for my home,” said Sergio. “It is terrible that JPMorgan is pulling the same trick on our country that it is pulling on me! First they negotiate, then they retreat before sealing the deal. We cannot stand for this, we must act."
Ceballos' struggle as a homeowner was linked to the increased struggle of renters in our gentrifying city. “We're working to bring together tenants and homeowners in our communities to fight back against the injustices they have both suffered at the hands of Wall Street,” said Occupy Homes organizer Antoine Martinneau, who was homeless for two years before moving into an apartment earlier this month.
The report calls for democratically controlled community land trusts to provide long-term affordable housing.
“What's happening to the housing and rent crisis in the Twin Cities is absolutely unconscionable,” said Jaymie Kelly, fighting her foreclosure with Freddie Mac. “The crash is not over yet. So many people are recovering and not recovering well. We need to make rents affordable. Everybody deserves to have access to affordable housing, and that's not happening.”