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Draft Statement 18 August 2001
During the past 8 years, the city of Minneapolis could have eliminated the shortage of affordable housing. That didn't happen because less than 10% of the Minneapolis Community Development Agency's budget has been dedicated to building and renovating housing that is affordable to poor people. If the City Council can find the money for a new baseball stadium, it can find the money needed to eliminate the shortage of affordable housing.
The high concentration of poverty you find in certain Minneapolis neighborhoods is the result of what is now illegal discrimination in the job and housing markets, especially discrimination against African-Americans. The remedy proposed in the settlement of Hollman v. Cisneros, razing more than 800 dwelling units at a site on the near North Side of Minneapolis forced many families with children into homeless shelters and onto the streets. The Hollman Consent Decree "deconcentrated" poverty in an area that was targeted for gentrification, but that didn't solve the problem. It cannot solve the problem because it does not address what brought it about in the first place.
The solution that we propose is simple and straightforward: Enforce fair employment and housing laws. This could be done by creating survey teams to identify illegal discrimination in the job and housing markets, and using the information that's collected by the survey teams to prosecute employers, landlords, lending institutions and real estate agencies who break the law. The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development uses survey teams to identify patterns of discrimination in the housing market, but doesn't prosecute.