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More families find themselves homeless, says new report

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news Alexandria, 56308
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

In the first quarter of 2013, more families found themselves homeless, and for longer periods of time, found the latest "2 x 4" Report by the Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP).

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Shelters contracted by Hennepin County housed an average of 330 families each month in the first quarter of the year, an increase of 69 percent in just two years.

At the same time, home prices have risen 15 percent year-to-date in the Twin Cities metro through May, compared to last year at this time.

A very tight rental market and limited employment options for lower income households have made finding affordable housing increasingly difficult for low-income folks, including homeless families and children, the report finds.

The report underscores the importance of public policy in ensuring that renters, and not just homeowners, benefit from economic gains.

"The findings of the report remind us why public investment is so urgent. We are very pleased that the 2013 state legislature has shown a commitment to addressing affordable housing and homelessness over the next two years," said Chip Halbach, Executive Director of MHP.

By the numbers:

2.8 percent - Twin Cities rental vacancy rate. The vacancy rate has been below a 5 percent "balanced" rate for almost three years.

2.4 percent - Twin Cities rental vacancy rate for apartments under $1,000.

$966 - Average rent in Twin cities, the highest recorded.

7,751 - Number of homeless children identified by the Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul schools since the beginning of the school year, up 25% compared to four years ago.

MHP's "2 x 4" Report graphically depicts 2 sets of indicators for each of 4 key housing areas: the home ownership market, the rental market, homelessness, and the housing industry. Through quarterly updates, the report provides a concise overview of housing challenges facing Minnesota.

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