Social Justice Blog

<< return to main

Affordable Housing Proposal

Posted: June 10, 2014

The 66 West Apartments project is on the drawing board for Edina. It has been presented at the Edina City Council. Beacon Interfaith Housing and Edina Community Lutheran Churches are the leads on the  project. Any time there is a proposal for affordable housing, many questions are raised. Often the first question is, “Why this location?” The short answer is that there is a documented need for affordable housing in the Southwest suburbs. According to a Wilder Foundation survey, on any given night there are 200 to 300 young adults who are homeless or who do not have a permanent address.

Another frequent concern raised is, “Will this become an issue for surrounding properties?”    Beacon Interfaith Housing has a long track record of building partnerships with local governments, businesses, faith communities and property owners to insure the success of its projects. They currently operate 500 units of affordable housing in the Twin Cities. They also screen tenants and set up individual leases. Their goal is to be a good neighbor.

What makes this project unique is that it not only provides housing, but it also includes support services to help young adults find jobs, access  public transportation and enroll in post- secondary education. They also teach independent living skills and help them connect with social services. The demographic served is 18-22 year olds.

Perhaps a more fundamental question for us to ask is, “What is the alternative?” If a young adult grows up in the suburbs and becomes homeless, where could they find a safe place to stay?  Going downtown to access services is scary to many, because they are unfamiliar with the inner city. They can also become vulnerable at shelters. Many young adults rely on friends. They patch things together by sleeping on the floor or on a couch, but it is not a long-term solution.  Some sleep in their cars. It is also impossible to hold a job and go to school when you don’t have a home.

This is not a complete solution, but a step in towards creating dignity and hope for young adults!

We encourage all members of St. Patrick’s to call the Mayor and Edina City Council to ask them to support the 66 West Apartments. If you have questions, we encourage you to visit the Beacon Interfaith Housing website for more details. You may also contact Maura in the Office of Social Justice.