Even “affordable housing” costs tend to have
a disproportionate impact on many Minnesota
residents, especially women and seniors. Non-
affordable housing is defined as spending more than
30 percent of total income on housing, which leads
to cutbacks in food, transportation, and health care

Corina Serrano has worked in
support of affordable housing for
more than a decade as a resident
and volunteer in the Frogtown
neighborhood of St. Paul. She says
Minnesota’s housing crisis is not
unique. “It’s a nationwide trend
that doesn’t seem to be getting
better,” she says. “There has been an
influx of luxury apartments, which
increases prices for apartments that
were already unaffordable to many.”

Since landlords have their choice of tenants, she says, they can use extreme screening that tends to disqualify the most vulnerable. It is easy to become homeless. “In Minnesota, a homeowner can go months without making a mortgage payment, a renter can only be a few days late.”

Serrano says many who struggle to find affordable housing are female-headed households, and often women of color. “When you are the sole breadwinner it makes it difficult to find housing, especially in a market where available units are rented the same day they are listed.” As a result, people often settle for undesirable housing, with long-term effects on family stability and safety.