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News Release: McKnight and HousingLink announce 2010 housing baseline measures

November 14, 2011 — Report emphasizes field efficiencies and collaboration, impact of government funds.

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Minneapolis, MN — The McKnight Foundation today released its 2010 Minnesota Housing Baseline Measures, the third in a line of annual reports on current affordable housing trends. This year, McKnight and its partners note new systems change efforts against a backdrop of recurrent and emerging challenges. A factsheet with data highlights is attached.

"Especially in terms of foreclosure prevention and rental preservation, our partners have made strong gains through better efficiencies and strong collaborations," said Kate Wolford, McKnight's president. "But even as prevention efforts improve, the total number of foreclosures continues to climb. As we all struggle to maintain the ground we've made, long-term solutions will depend on our ability to adapt to a shifting environment and engage new partners in problem-solving." Networked counseling to prevent foreclosures in 2009 resulted in an estimated $600 million in savings for Minnesota's homeowners, lenders, neighborhoods, and government.

Since 1980, McKnight has invested over $200 million and collaborated with some of the country's most productive partners to help provide housing for more than 36,000 families. In 2007, the Foundation and collaborators developed an evaluation framework to measure outcomes and foster mutual accountability for results. McKnight commissioned HousingLink to establish quantitative baseline measures in seven areas with the framework, to track progress towards short- and long-term outcomes over time; the first report was released in 2009. "This report provides a good snapshot on how we're doing," said Mary Tingerthal, Commissioner of Minnesota Housing. "It also shows the significant investment from McKnight, Minnesota Housing and other government and philanthropic sources."

In 30 pages of charts and analysis, the new 2010 Minnesota Housing Baseline Measures report highlights how Minnesota's housing crisis was profoundly impacted by Federal funding, ranging from the 2009 stimulus package to additional investments through HUD-related programs, which resulted (directly or indirectly) in the production of over 4,000 new rental opportunities, preservation of existing properties, and improved access to down-payment assistance for homeownership. With stimulus funds now spent, however, even a 25 percent boost in State housing investments from 2009 to 2010 couldn't offset the loss.

Findings also suggest that the State's increased support has not yet leveraged parallel private investments, although it has served to help sustain production during this time of low private-sector participation. Against an overall 33 percent drop in housing spending from 2007 to 2010, for example, findings indicate a staggering 54 percent decrease in investments from philanthropic and other non-public sources.

At the same time, several persistent housing challenges seem to be intensified by current conditions. It appears the homeownership gulf between white and non-white households has widened from 31 percent to 36 percent in the last two years. And minority and immigrant households are at heightened risk of foreclosure and other threats of displacement. Although people of color represent only 9 percent of Minnesota's homeowners, the Minnesota Home Ownership Center reports they comprise a disproportionate 23 percent of those seeking foreclosure counseling.

The report also draws attention to various new strategies and efficiencies to address and overcome the difficult economy and housing market, many with potential for overall cost savings. For example, communities and agencies have increasingly concentrated efforts to preserve existing housing units, rather than create new housing. "The potential payoff is significant. Analysis of 2010 State data showed a per-unit cost savings of 42 percent, to preserve existing units rather than create new units," said HousingLink president Sue Speakman-Gomez.

Likewise, with data revealing public costs for long-term, supportive housing residents to be less than one-fifth the cost of public services for their homeless counterparts, partners continue work to end long-term homelessness. And, as noted earlier, the Minnesota Homeownership Center reports that foreclosures prevented by its counseling network in 2009 translated into savings of up to $600 million for our region.

Data tracking of 2011 progress is well under way. The next report in the annual Minnesota Housing Baseline Measures series is expected in the fall of 2012.


The McKnight Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations through grantmaking, coalition-building, and encouragement of strategic policy reform. Founded in 1953 and independently endowed by William and Maude McKnight, the Minnesota-based foundation had assets of approximately $1.9 billion and granted about $96 million in 2010. In 2010, McKnight directed about 20 percent of its funding to encourage efficient regional development for livable communities and opportunities for all to thrive, including about $10 million for efforts to increase family stability through affordable housing. 


HousingLink is an independent, nonprofit organization that distributes affordable housing information to service agencies, housing providers, and policymakers in the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area.


Anoka County, Central Community Land Trust, City of Brooklyn Park, City of Duluth, City of Lakes Community Land Trust, City of Minneapolis, City of Moorhead CDA, City of St. Paul, Dakota County CDA, Duffy Development, Emerging Markets Homeownership Initiative, Family Housing Fund, Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, Federal Reserve Bank Minneapolis, Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation, Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, Habitat for Humanity Minnesota, Habitat for Humanity Twin Cities, Hearth Connection, Hennepin County, Housing Assistance Council, Housing Preservation Project, Metropolitan Council Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Minnesota Community Land Trust Coalition, Minnesota Council on Foundations, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Minnesota Home Ownership Center, Minnesota Housing, Minnesota Housing Partnership, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Northern Communities Land Trust, Ramsey County Community and Economic Development, Rochester/Olmsted Planning Department, St Louis County Planning and Development Department, Three Rivers Community Action, Twin Cities Community Land Bank, University of Minnesota's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota's Center for Sustainable Building Research, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington County Community Services, YWCA of Saint Paul


Media contacts
Tim Hanrahan, The McKnight Foundation, 612-333-4220,
Dan Hylton, HousingLink, 612-522-2500, x222,