"It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I think this problem is so big right now, it needs some very big solutions. And that is the real problem. I don't know if the good people of Minneapolis are ready for those really big solutions."
The "Boy Mayor" called a presser yesterday to address the growing tent city which is located close to the Little Earth community in South Minneapolis. Is that a problem? You betcha it is. This is the first real indication we are developing the same issues that Portland, Seattle and other western cities are getting. It is gentrification at its worse. While the well healed are moving into $3,000 month flats in the Warehouse district, the less fortunate, many who had some kind of pitfall, are relegated to living in a tent on the streets.
On a similar note, the Governor recently addressed the need for more affordable housing in the Twin Cities. We really suck at having an equal distribution of housing in the cities. Why? Developers love to put on the dog. Fancy joints with all the amenities. Building just ordinary housing? That is so yesterday! Where does that leave us with? According to the city planners, we need thousands of affordable units in the metro area. Let that sink in for a minute. Not dozens, not hundreds - but thousands.
Okay Twin Cities - brace yourself. To house the growing number of homeless, to ensure that people from all income stratas can have some kind of housing, this is going to take cash bucks - and lots of them. It is also going to take some vision which is currently lacking. Like what?
Like a moratorium on new housing in Minneapolis. Only allow new housing which is under a certain threshold. GASP! Do you know what that will do to our image? We are a "with it progressive city"! Do you know what this would do to our "growth"? The bottom line is this. The duel problems of inadequate affordable housing as well as the acute shortage of homeless shelters, is NOT going away by itself. As much as I hate the heavy hand of government, government might have to get involved here. We don't need a brand new 40 story high rise, loaded with high buck apartments and lofts, We do however, need a bunch of "Orin Thompson" type ramblers.
It is really up to the "Boy Mayor" and the City Council to determine what kind of Minneapolis they want going forward. Right now, Minneapolis is a mess. If you are "well to do" and living downtown, it is great, except for "those people" who are on the street corners. But "those people" also would like a bite from the apple. Like a place to live with a roof over their heads.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I think this problem is so big right now, it needs some very big solutions. And that is the real problem. I don't know if the good people of Minneapolis are ready for those really big solutions. But without those really big solutions, the big problems might just grow into insolvable ones.