MINNEAPOLIS — There are hundreds of vacant apartments for rent in Minneapolis, but studies show there are few that low income families can afford. That’s why advocates say they’re pushing for rent control.
"This is a real crisis for folks in Minneapolis," said Chris Gray, a renter in Northeast Minneapolis who also leads a group called Minneapolis United For Rent Control.
The Minneapolis city council today agreed, approving two amendments advancing to the charter commission, the first step in putting rent control on the ballot. Today’s vote comes after more than a hundred people Wednesday spoke to the council, with both renters and landlords weighing in.
"I know that we have a lot of residents around the city who feel really passionate about this policy one way or another," said Ward 5 City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison.
Gray says Minneapolis has long had a housing crisis, but it’s now at its all time worst, the pandemic forcing many into impossible choices.
"Rent is the difference between buying groceries or paying student loans or paying for healthcare," said Gray.
Gray says he and other renters want a policy with a list of protections, saying Minneapolis can lead the way to making real change where other cities nationwide haven’t.
"What we want is to tie rent increases to cost of living, include all buildings regardless of size and age and date of construction, to not have corporate loopholes like vacancy decontrol, and also that it’s well enforced," said Gray.
But with landlords largely opposed to that plan, renters say change won’t come easy, knowing this first step is just one of many they have ahead.