Landlords using income requirements are obviously discriminatory toward low-income people. According to the Star Tribune, Jamal Jones and Alliyah Ross and their 5-week-old baby Chanel had been living in the Drake Hotel for less than a month when the hotel fire on Christmas took the first real home they ever had. Both Jones and Ross are only 20 years old.
Before ending up at the Drake, they had applied for an apartment that was $1,200 and their application was rejected because they did not have a monthly income of $3,600, which is a yearly income of $44,000. Of the thousands of people throughout the state of Minnesota struggling to find housing, how many of them make $44K a year? Probably not a single one.
It would be nice if everyone could pay only 30% of their income on housing, but that is just not a reality for most of us. These are renters who are very low income and keep a roof over their heads even when they are paying over 50% of their income on their rent—it is not about how much you make, it is about how you spend.
Many renters who make under $20,000 a year pay their rent better than people who make $50,000 a year. And these income requirements are also a way for landlords to selectively discriminate against poor People of Color.
If the law is going to allow landlords the right to get personal financial information from possible renters, then renters should also be allowed to get the same information about the landlords. Renters have the right to know if their future landlord is financially responsible and has an adequate income to fix the property when things break, as well as pay the water and gas bills and taxes.
Developer John Wolf threatens Chicago Lake stability
For a system to allow developers to come into the Chicago-Lake Street neighborhood of South Minneapolis and charge rents starting at $1,450 for a studio apartment is a form of terrorism upon all the current renters presently living in the neighborhood.
Thousands of renters are now wondering how they are going to afford to live in THEIR neighborhood.
The Star Tribune sub-headline in a recent article about developer John Wolf, read, “John Wolf is a $10 million believer in the neighborhood around Chicago Avenue and Lake Street in Minneapolis.”
This is not the “rebirth” of Lake and Chicago, this is the death of it. Wolf’s new project will be a major step towards the “uptowning” of Lake and Chicago. Wolf is not a believer in the neighborhood. If he was he wouldn’t be destroying it by pricing people out of it. What he really believes in is ruthless capitalism. He is exploiting a housing crisis to make a lot of money.
Those who support this kind of housing development are being very short-sighted. We need look no further than San Francisco to see how rapidly rising housing costs can destroy a city.
The city of Berlin, Germany, has recently invoked a 5-year rent freeze. I am not suggesting something this drastic be done, but something must be done.
Frank Erickson lives in South Minneapolis.