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One of my favorite buildings, one of my favorite trees, some of my favorite light spilling onto both.

There’s a lot of new housing going in nearby, after decades of wealthier homeowners using their clout and connections to systemically push out (and keep out!) poorer residents and renters.

I used to live a few blocks from here in a dilapidated triplex owned by a delinquent landlord who didn’t pay the mortgage and didn’t fix the house either. But the location was great and the rent was low, even forced to pay for a parking spot I had no use for. When he kicked us out, this was one building I wanted to check out, but it was nearly twice what I’d been paying.

The small core of privileged people who’ve dominated our city processes for decades have set us up for the (affordable) housing crisis we face: blocking any new apartments, pushing for downzoning, reducing the density and walkability of buildings that have gone in, giving each other loans to turn affordable triplexes like the one I used to live in into single family mansions, pushing to force landlords to include parking and pass the costs on to renters (each parking space adds tens of thousands of dollars to the cost) all while complaining about the blight of renters like me.

Unsurprisingly, we’ve hit a pinch point. This building is with a few blocks of 7 bus lines, less than a mile from downtown and the lakes, within easy walking distance of everything you could need. Who wouldn’t want to live here? Even with a handful of new apartment buildings going in finally, it’s just no match for the demands of reurbanization. Demand far outstrips supply.

Instead of finding ways to increase the number of homes available (convert single family mansions back to their historical duplex and triplex status? Incentivize putting apartment buildings where parking lots languish? Streamline zoning so that more multi-family homes can go in on small lots?) the same voices that have removed housing units and fought against more housing for decades are blaming the new buildings and those building them for “gentrification” and for rising rents.

Mpls can do better. We have to.

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