Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has been touted as the “affordable housing mayor” and his first big thing to combat rising rents is called “naturally occurring affordable housing.” It is nothing short of a mob-style approach to running the city. But, this is the way it has always been with rich and powerful White males being above the law, cutting deals in back rooms.
The landlords are getting government handouts without having to prove hardship and this is illegal. When a renter applies for a Section 8 voucher, they have to prove that they need help, they have to prove hardship — but not landlords. Who is running the city, these wealthy landlords or the mayor?
You want assistance? Prove you need it. Show us your bank accounts, show us your assets, your taxes, etc. This is what renters have to do when applying for help. If landlords can get handouts from just saying how taxes are hurting them, then renters should get help from just saying higher rents are hurting them.
This program is also counter-productive in that it reinforces the capitalistic belief that those who are not in “affordable units” can have their rent raised simply because they have more money. That increase has nothing to do with the landlord doing any extra work, but rather, it is because it assumes the renter has more money.
Frank Erickson lives in Minneapolis.