Submitted during public comment period, July 2018
In the Jewish tradition, when two parties decide to marry, they sign a ketubah. A Ketubah is a prenuptial agreement between the two parties, and outlines what each party is responsible for throughout the marriage. At Jewish Community Action, we don’t intend on marrying any other organization, but we do believe that the policies our governments enact are moral documents. Across the Twin Cities Metro area, cities are required to submit Comprehensive Plans by the end of 2018 to the Met Council that vision what they will look like by the year 2040, and how they plan to get there. JCA members across Hennepin county are reviewing the Comp Plans in their cities and making sure our values of housing as a human right are properly represented.
The proposed Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan has stirred significant discussion within the city and across the region. As an organization with over 20 years of working on economic justice issues, with a significant focus on housing, we feel obligated to share comments on our top three priorities.
The most discussed aspect of The Plan is outlined in Policy #1, which calls to diversify the types of housing that can be built across the city by rezoning the city for higher density. To summarize what JCA’s housing organizer said in City Lab earlier this year, density must be tied to affordability requirements. The market will never produce housing that is affordable for low income and extremely low income people on its own, and we must be steadfast in our commitment to providing deeply affordable housing.
We share concerns that upzoning could lead to development and gentrification that only further displaces communities that have called Minneapolis home for decades, as well as marginalized communities: immigrants, communities of color, the elderly, and the poor.
Jewish Community Action fully supports a strong Inclusionary Zoning Policy (also known as Mixed Income Housing), that would require 25% of all new developments to be affordable at 50% of the Area Median Income or below across the city. We would also encourage the ordinance call for a higher percentage of affordable units along transit routes.
We know Minneapolis will continue to grow in population, and we believe everyone should have a choice in where they want to live. Inclusionary Zoning is a key tool to ensuring we can grow and improve our neighborhoods while keeping our same neighbors.
Jewish Community Action is a proud member of the Make Homes Happen Coalition. Make Homes Happen is a coalition of 35 organizations that are advocating for dedicated, local funding for affordable housing by committing $50 Million per year for 10 years to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. This money can be used for affordable housing development, preservation, enforcement of tenant protections, and to provide additional rental subsidies that would reach deep affordability akin to 30% of area median income. Additionally, Make Homes Happen believes any potential revenue streams to make funding possible should not put a burden at the most marginalized in our community, and we implore the city to seek progressive revenue sources that would have the lowest impact on low income individuals and families.
At JCA, we stand in solidarity with renters, and we implore the city to deeply engage low income and working class renters to enact tenant protections that reflect changes predicated on the community’s experiences. Additionally, we support: extending Just Cause Protections to the private market, Capping Security Deposit & Application Fee Amounts, a Repair & Deduct ordinance, “Ban the Box” for Rental Applications, Advanced Notice of Sale and/or Right of First Refusal, and reforming the Conduct on Premises ordinance.
Minneapolis is the leader of our region. As it continues to grow, the City must be explicit that racial and economic inequality are central issues to be confronted headon. We cannot say “no” to the process of planning for our future. It is critically important to ask “who benefits?” and “who loses?” when considering visions and policies laid out before us. We encourage our members to engage with the plan & our comments and submit comments themselves. The City is accepting comments through July 22nd on the website https://minneapolis2040.com/
Like a Ketubah, the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive plan outlines our shared commitment to each other. Jewish tradition teaches us that we are all b’tzelem ehlohim or made in the image of God. We believe if the City of Minneapolis makes a commitment to what we have outlined, we will be one step closer to actualizing that belief through public policy.