City officials seeking solutions from Dayton's Task Force on Hou - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

City officials seeking solutions from Dayton's Task Force on Housing

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A quality place to call home, new numbers show more Minnesotans are struggling to find that because of a lack of affordability.

The situation's gotten so bad,  Governor Mark Dayton announced a task force this week meant to find solutions and he's asked Duluth's Mayor Emily Larson to be a part of it.

Duluth, having serious affordable housing problems of its own. City Council President, Joel Sipress says,  "it's very difficult if you're working at a low to mid-wage job to find a decent, affordable rental housing units."

Sipress says Duluth has been struggling to create affordable places for people to rent or buy. "It's just always been the case that given the cost of construction, that it's very very hard to develop affordable housing whether it's for first-time homeowners or whether it's for renters without some sort of public support." 

Here in Duluth, Sipress explains affordable living units would allow people living paycheck to paycheck to afford rent and also be able to have some disposable income.

He says, "making sure we have affordable housing isn't just good for individuals who are struggling but it's also good for our local economy and local businesses."

And it's not just about money. The issue also impacts schools and Duluth's education system.

Katie Danielson, member of Duluth School District's Affordable Housing Task Force says, "what we see generally with kids with lack of stability is that is multiple changes in schools during the year, they often times fall behind."

Sipress explains it's an issue often seen in higher education as well, "given how expensive college has gotten if on top of that it's hard to find an affordable place to live while you're working on your degree, that just puts, even more, a strain on our local student population." 

It's a big problem that Governor Dayton's new task force aims to put to bed.

"What Mayor Larson can bring to this task force is to really make sure the task force puts a high priority on affordable rental housing for people who are working at low to mid-wage jobs," says Sipress. 

The task force aims to get going in the coming weeks and provide proposals to the legislature by summer. 

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