MINNEAPOLIS — Mayor Jacob Frey held his State of the City Address Thursday at the Leef Corporate Office in north Minneapolis. Due to the pandemic, it was the first time since 2019 the annual speech was held in person.
The theme: "Minneapolis is on the rebound."
The mayor first spoke about how the city and its partners are providing affordable housing at record rates. He said the city has invested $320 million in affordable housing since 2018. Frey says funding is secured for 23 projects this year, creating 2,200 more affordable housing units.
Last year, more than 900 units were already under construction, which Frey said is the most in city history.
He also said the Stable Homes Stable Schools program has provided housing for more than 4,000 families since 2021 and says plans to expand that program will be announced in the coming weeks.
"If you truly want to see academic success, the first route is to provide that stability of a home," Frey said. "We've been giving them homes with a focus on Minneapolis Public Schools elementary students with the highest rates of homelessness."
The mayor spent about as much time talking about public safety, saying homicides, shootings, shots fired calls, carjackings and robberies are all down from last year at this time. He says homicides are down 43 percent, the number of people shot is down 32 percent, carjackings are down 41 percent, and robberies are down 24 percent.
This comes one day after 45 people were charged in a crackdown on violent street gangs in the city.
"So in the area of safety, we are also in a rebound," he said. "Are we there yet? No. Better does not mean good. Better does not mean we're at where we need to be and we're washing our hands clean and taking on another issue. Safety will still be critical but we are trending in the right direction."
Some people say the best crime data comparison would be to instead compare this year to 2019, before the pandemic and unrest when violent crime skyrocketed nationwide.
Frey also urged people to come back to visit downtown Minneapolis, touting new restaurants and events, including the return of Taste of Minnesota on Nicollet Mall this July. He proposed businesses encourage their workers to do a hybrid schedule with in-person shifts Tuesdays through Thursdays.
"I get that things have changed but let's stay on the cutting edge," he said. "Let's be seen as progressive and moving forward as quickly as we can."
Watch more Minnesota politics:
Watch the latest political coverage from the Land of 10,000 Lakes in our YouTube playlist: