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Love Makes Room for Affordable Housing

If your family purchased a house, how much could you afford?  Read the full study here from the National Association of Home Builders. There are approximately 128 Million total households in the United States.  The graph below shows the number of households that can afford a home in that particular price range.  The range of homes goes from $0 to a home costing greater than $1.55 Million dollars.  36 Million, 28% of U.S. households, cannot afford a home costing over $150,000.  50% of U.S. households cannot afford a home costing over $250,000.

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7 out of 10 households cannot afford a median-priced home in the United States, which is $412,000 in 2022.  In Minnetonka Minnesota, the median home is now over $450,000.  

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From Minnetonka's 2040 Comprehensive Guide planning report on Housing (data from 2017):

"Land values and new construction costs greatly influence the cost of production of new single family housing in Minnetonka. There have been relatively few new home sales in Minnetonka in recent years, with 20 recorded sales in 2016 and 23 recorded sales in 2015. New construction of single family housing in Minnetonka is focused at the high end of the market. In 2016, the average price for a new construction home was $950,455 that sold for an average of $969,000. Additionally, the average size of a new construction home in 2016 was 4,320 square feet. The average resale price of homes sold in Minnetonka has increased substantially since 2000. In 2000, 35 percent of single family homes sold were priced under $200,000. By 2006, only four homes sold for under $200,000. Between 2006 and the 2016, the average resale price of single family homes increased from $286,000 to $432,980, a 51 percent increase."

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Housing, either renting or owning, is considered affordable when no more than 30% of household income goes toward housing costs.  In Minnesota 42% of renting households and 17% of homeowners are cost-burdened.  They are spending more than 30% of their income on housing. 1 in 9 Minnesota households is extremely cost-burdened, spending more than 50% of income on housing.  Read more Minnesota housing data here... 

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The data above is helpful in demonstrating the need our cities have in addressing our housing crisis. And "The vast majority of the public (85%) believes that ensuring everyone has a safe, decent, affordable place to live should be a “top national priority.”  However, we struggle locally and nationally to make affordable housing a reality.  There is a perennial assumption that affordable housing creation belongs someplace else and is bad if it comes near me. There must be a magical other space better suited for the creation of more housing that is Not In My BackYard.  


There is land and space to address our housing shortage and affordability crisis.  Space in our hearts, however, is a question for each of us. Our collective affections have often been formed in practice and policy to resist this development.  Our minds and our words can say, "we are for affordable housing."  But our words do not create affordable housing.  Until the story that we tell ourselves and one another changes, our desires will most likely remain stuck in prevention rather than creation.  We may be trapped in despising and resenting. However, when we begin to see each other as related, and see each other as family, we begin to make room responsively.  Space in our hearts that moves into space on our block.  Your family needs a safe, stable, and affordable place to live.  Mine does too.  My kids will someday as will the kids of families that you and I may never meet.  Loving neighbors add character to our lives.  Allowing love to make room in us, creates space for mutual flourishing.  It no longer feels like losing.  It begins to feel different.  The energy becomes expansive and freeing.  We do not need to make room out of guilt, need, data and graphs, shame, or blame.  When it is love that makes room, it releases us into an abundance of joy.  Love makes room where there once felt like there was none.  Love frees us to discover abundance in ourselves and our neighbors.  Yes, I believe that love makes room for our neighbor, but first love makes room in us.

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