Minneapolis, MN (July 12, 2010) - Facing long commutes, unpredictable gas prices and a lack of housing options, Minnesota’s workforce is under stress. The complete “cost of place,” including utility, transportation and housing costs, is out of reach for thousands of Minnesota’s most valued workers, and people are wondering if there are better, more sustainable solutions. Today, national, state, and local leaders came together in Minneapolis to identify effective workforce housing strategies at the National Housing Conference (NHC) and National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Bring Workers Home forum.
The 2009 Metro Council Metropolitan Survey found that nearly a third of Minnesotans believe transportation is the single biggest problem in the area, with 50 percent saying it is one of the top three local issues. Families and individuals are finding that when they incorporate the time and money they spend getting to and from work into household costs, the full cost of place can become overwhelming.
“Workforce housing, and the growing combined cost of housing and transportation, present immediate challenges for working families, and long-term concerns for our national economy,” said Maureen Friar, president and CEO of NHC. “These issues hit particularly close to home for Minnesotans, and this forum helps get the wheels moving to take advantage of a potentially transformational national moment.”
Keynote speaker Jeffrey Lubell, the executive director of NHC’s research affiliate, the Center for Housing Policy, explained how emerging changes in demand and demographic shifts, as well as expectations of long-term increases in energy costs, are driving new ideas in housing and development. “There is a growing desire around the country for more livable communities that are walkable, close to transit or job centers, and include a mix of housing options and retail amenities. The key public policy question is how to ensure these emerging communities of opportunity are affordable to families with a range of incomes.”
The Bring Workers Home forum showcased private and public sector solutions to keep up with these emerging changes, including the need for collaboration at the federal, state and local levels.
The following regional and national partners helped NAR and NHC plan the forum: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; International Economic Development Council; Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors®; the McKnight Foundation; Metropolitan Planning Council; ULI Minnesota; and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.
Today’s Bring Workers Home forum in Minneapolis was the second of four regional workforce housing events that NHC and NAR are sponsoring across the nation. The first forum took place in Atlanta in June, and upcoming regional forums in Austin, Texas (August 12) and Honolulu, Hawaii (October 12) will help to elevate the discussion of workforce housing nationwide.
Since 1931, the nonprofit National Housing Conference has been dedicated to helping ensure safe, decent and affordable housing for all Americans. To learn more about the National Housing Conference and its research affiliate, the Center for Housing Policy, please go to www.nhc.org.
The National Association of Realtors, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
Contact: Tim O'Keefe
(202) 466-2121 x240