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There's a $3M deal to keep housing affordable in the Twin Cities

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A $3 million deal will help keep housing prices low for Minnesotans.

The Hennepin County Board made the deal after a low-income housing group argued that affordable housing is disappearing in the Twin Cities area.

Companies are snatching the cheaper units, fixing them up and renting out the renovated units for a higher price.

That makes for some beautiful new apartments; however, the price hikes sometimes drive out residents because they can't afford it anymore.

In fact, Warren Hanson called it a "crisis" while meeting with Hennepin County leaders.

Hanson is the president of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF) – a nonprofit affordable housing lender.

The group has a $25 million initiative specific to the Twin Cities metro. It's called the NOAH Impact Fund, and it aims to save "naturally occurring affordable housing."

What is naturally occurring affordable housing?

Hanson says it refers to older rental units that typically cost between $550 and $1,200 a month and don't have subsidies.

GMHF says the effort will protect about 1,000 of these units and help keep prices low by purchasing them. That will prevent other companies from buying the units and driving up prices. It'll also fight the the high demand for these rentals, as that's also been hiking the prices.

Low-income housing in Minnesota

"Low-income" or "affordable housing" means the rent doesn't take up more than 30 percent of a family's income, the Southwest Journal reports.

And right now, Hennepin County is getting some attention because it's home to about half of the Twin Cities' affordable housing units, the Star Tribune says.

This year, the paper says Hennepin County has already lost at least 1,300 of those units.

Rising prices isn't just a Twin Cities problem, though. Rent has been going up across the state.

In fact, the Minnesota Housing Partnership said last year that the steepest increases have been in greater Minnesota.

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