St. Paul renters: Don’t allow affordable housing to be excluded from stabilization policy

A news conference held Monday put the spotlight back on St. Paul’s rent stabilization policy.

The measure previously approved by voters caps the residential rent increased at 3% annually.

However, the Minnesota chapter of the SEIU claims affordable housing is at risk of being excluded from the rent stabilization policy.

SEIU members joined local renters in calling on the St. Paul City Council to avoid putting in that exemption late Monday morning.

During the news conference Monday, renters talked about facing the issue of not being able to afford rent but also not being able to afford to move.

Arlene Datu, a leader with organization ISAIAH and a renter who is on a fixed income, said a landlord has been raising rent by 5% every year.

“I realized that renters have no recourse except to pick up and move,” Datu said.

Margaret Kaplan, president of the Housing Justice Center, said, “The proposed ordinance is so broad that it would apply to any housing that’s affordable for low- and moderate-income households.”

She went on to say, “For a city to really truly believe in safe stable affordable housing, to really believe in the human right of housing, and to believe in our fair housing laws, we cannot have such a broad exception for affordable housing.”

The City Council is expected to discuss potential exceptions to the policy in its upcoming meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

You can view the entire meeting agenda below.