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May 18, 2020 (MINNEAPOLIS) Land Bank Twin Cities, Inc. has acquired five apartment buildings in the Corcoran neighborhood of South Minneapolis – a major victory for the tenants and Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia (United Renters for Justice), a community group that has worked with the tenants to keep the units affordable and ensure they can stay in their homes.
Land Bank Twin Cities acquired the properties with a three-year, $4.98 million acquisition and rehab loan from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Twin Cities and $3.45 million in 0% interest financing from the City of Minneapolis as part of the Small and Medium Multifamily Loan Program for the preservation of naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH). The City created this tool in partnership with LISC and the Land Bank Twin Cities to support housing stability and create a path for possible tenant ownership. The five buildings include 69 apartments, with 34 apartments occupied, home to 95 people.
Land Bank Twin Cities plans to make repairs in the buildings and lease 35 vacant units over the next couple of years. Inquilinxs plans to eventually create a tenant cooperative that could purchase some or all of the buildings from the Land Bank.
Inquilinxs began organizing in 2015 to address poor living conditions in the apartments. In 2018, the City of Minneapolis revoked then-owner Stephen Frenz’ rental license for thousands of apartments across the city, including the Corcoran properties.
“This collaborative effort reflects local government done right,” said Mayor Jacob Frey. “COVID-19 has shaken the foundation of Minneapolis and cities across this country. But work like this makes clear the value of persistence in fighting for our residents and strategically dedicating resources to increase housing stability, even in times of crisis.”
“The unprecedented organizing of tenants and Inquilinxs Unidxs has secured a strong victory for our diverse communities,” said City Council Member Alondra Cano. “Protecting the homes of our immigrant families and low-income residents is a top priority for me and I’m deeply thankful to the City staff who doubled down on their commitment to this value. I’m proud to stand with the coalition of partners who, over the past few years, have tirelessly worked together to bring significant resources and people power to stop displacement and uplift renters’ rights. This accomplishment should make it clear that in Minneapolis, when we organize together for housing as a human right, we win.”
“This is an amazing victory. I am so happy,” said Chloe Jackson, a resident of one of the Corcoran buildings and board president of Inquilinxs Unidxs. “This is just one victory that my neighbors and I achieved from struggling together and standing united for what we know is right. Our work is only getting started, I know we have many more struggles in front of us. But I am so happy that I can finally rest a little more easily now, knowing that I get to stay in my home.”
“Partnerships like this one with the City of Minneapolis, Land Bank Twin Cities, and the tenants for this acquisition are essential to continue making real progress to address the affordable housing crisis in Minneapolis, especially during these challenging times we’re living in,” said LISC Twin Cities Executive Director Peter McLaughlin. “We hope to do more with this new partnership. It leverages City funds with LISC capital and builds on the energy and will of the tenants and the capabilities of the Land Bank.”]
“Land Bank Twin Cities is pleased to play a role in preserving affordable housing that allows people to stay in their homes, which we know is critically important during these uncertain times,” said Sandy Oakes, president of Land Bank Twin Cities, Inc. “We envision a time when all Twin Cities residents will have the opportunity to live and prosper in a community of their choice, and mission-oriented real estate developments such as this are essential for long-term equitable economic opportunity in our region.”
About Land Bank Twin Cities, Inc.
Land Bank Twin Cities works with developers, nonprofit service providers and government agencies in the Twin Cities to capture strategic real estate opportunities that benefit people with low to moderate incomes, prioritizing people of color and populations facing barriers. Through land banking, lending and brokering, Land Bank Twin Cities has played a major role in addressing barriers to equitable community development. The result has been millions of dollars invested in Twin Cities communities over the past decade to support a wide range of real estate initiatives. To learn more, visit landbanktwincities.org.
About Inquilinxs Unidxs
Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia is committed to bringing Minneapolis tenants together in order to organize and create safe, affordable and dignified housing in Minneapolis. Learn more at inquilinxsunidxs.org.
About LISC Twin Cities
With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity–great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1988, LISC Twin Cities has invested $900 million to build or rehab 17,404 affordable homes and apartments, develop 2.4 million square feet of retail, community and educational space, and serve over 7,500 families at Financial Opportunity Centers. To learn more, visit tclisc.org.