Concept for Discussion

Regional Housing Initiative
May 2007

Over the last two years, representatives from Kootasca, AEOA, St. Louis County HRA, and Itasca County HRA have discussed the need for a “Region-wide” approach to addressing some aspects of housing needs in the Arrowhead. While the Regional Housing Advisory Group (RHAG) meetings have provided effective communication, there are many other housing issues that transcend communication: 1. Scale. Our efforts for low-moderate income (LMI), workforce and senior housing are fragmented among many local entities. Frequently, these are confronted with need for relatively small scale projects - sometimes in scattered sites, limited or no experience in the development and management of the specific type of project needed, and funding sources that view larger projects as more economical and attractive. A region-wide housing collaborative may be more effective in providing peer-to-peer technical assistance or sharing organization capacity across jurisdictional boundaries, and accessing funding by aggregating projects to address the issues of project scale in the context of funding source preference for projects of scale. 2. Collaboration. Several of the region’s many housing entities develop and retain expertise in some particular aspects of housing: development, market analysis, single family, multifamily, finance, etc. However, these capacities are dispersed in entities across the region with no one entity possessing them all. A regional approach may be able to facilitate cross-jurisdictional use of expertise from within the region’s existing housing professionals. The intent is not to displace local housing project initiatives or staff, but to offer support through the existing cadre of housing professionals who cannot currently work outside their funding and jurisdictional boundaries. 3. Funding. Funding is critical to enable the production of deliverables such as: demographic analyses, writing of funding requests, developing housing proposals, reports of state and federal programs, new funding sources, regional trends, etc. Regional housing would seek support funding for the production of these deliverables through various non-profit and state/ or federal sources, provided that there is a position and agency willing to provide the staff resource for these potential funding streams. 4. Liaison. Organizations such as the Minnesota Housing Partnership, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and others need a single point of contact through which to convey their program direction and support for local housing projects. Conversely, regional housing professionals need a position to convey their needs, advocate for their interests, and ensure that local housing officials are aware of the opportunities and programs available through regional and state entities.

Concept for Discussion
Regional Housing Initiative
May 2007 5. Coordination. There are multiple housing organizations in the Arrowhead Region: Municipal HRAs, county HRAs, CAP agencies, Land Trusts, etc. While not all of these entities will be interested in full participation in a regional housing collaborative, they will all benefit from periodic updates about other housing initiatives within the region, informal advocacy on their behalf, and greater awareness of regional housing needs among state and federal agencies and their affiliates. Coordination would be more formally structured among full participants in the collaborative who seek the advice, counsel and collaboration with other housing professionals within the region.

6. Governance. It is proposed the collaborative become a formal committee of the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission to functioning in a manner somewhat similar to the Regional Transportation Advisory Committee (RTAC). (See RTAC website http://www.arrowheadplanning.org/Default.asp?PageID=151#494 ). The role of the Regional Housing Advisory Committee would be to formally seek sustaining funds for their work, seek project and development funding on behalf of regional housing projects, oversee housing related studies, and establish the RHAC as the region’s point of entry or principal contact for state/, federal and other housing development entities. RHAC would seek to establish region-wide fund allocations and develop a process for the distribution of funding, technical assistance and project advocacy through their committee work. 7. Is ARDC the appropriate “home” for a regional housing coordinator? While there are many organizations that could host a regional housing position to support our diversified housing initiatives and organizations in the region, ARDC does have a statutory mandate to do so. Please review the following quotes from MN Statutes, Chapter 462: a. “Purpose: Government Cooperation and Coordination. The legislature finds that problems of growth and development in urban and rural areas of the state so transcend the boundary lines of local government units that no single unit can plan for their solution without affecting other units in the region; that coordination of multi-jurisdictional activities is essential to the development and implementation of effective policies and programs; and that intergovernmental cooperation is an effective means of pooling the resources of local government to approach common problems ..is needed to make the most effective use of local, state, federal and private programs serving …urban and rural regions...” “Regional development commissions [shall] work with and on behalf of local units of government to develop plans and implement programs to address economic, social, physical, and governmental concerns of each region..” b. “The commission may appoint advisory committees of interested and affected citizens to assist in the review of plans, programs and other matters referred by the commission….and shall appoint such committees as advisory groups to the commission.”

Concept for Discussion
Regional Housing Initiative
May 2007 ARDC houses the Arrowhead Agency on Aging. A long-term goal may be to establish the Regional Housing Advisory Committee as a formal and permanent component of ARDC in a similar manner to the AAA. Since the Aging group does address housing issues for seniors in the region, there may be significant synergies in hosting the housing committee staff within ARDC. More importantly, the Commission is comprised of community leaders and elected officials who could become active proponents of better public policy, increased funding, and more effective coordination of housing programs in the region.

Northern Minnesota Roles & Functions Matrix
Functions & Responsibilities • • • • • • • • • Overall Coordination Regional MultiJurisdiction Coordination Brings Credibility Convener Info Provider Community Specific Organizing Facilitate Community Meetings “Rattle Cages” Cultivate Local Leadership & “Setting The Stage” Northwestern Minnesota Entity Headwaters Regional Development Commission Northwest Regional Development Commission • • • • • HRDC NWRDC Resource-Rich Communities Caps (Secondary) Northwest MN Foundation (Secondary) • • • • • AEOA Kootasca Itasca Cty HRA Resource-Rich Communities ARDC (Secondary) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Product Delivery • • • • Private Developers EDAs/HRAs CAPs Native American Tribes • • • • Private Developers EDAs/HRAs CAPs Native American Tribes • • • • • • MHP-OIP NWMF Blandin Foundation St. Louis County Northland Foundation Community Foundations Local Governments MN Housing (Capacity Funding) MHP – Capacity Building Grant NWMF Blandin St. Louis County Northland Foundation Community Foundations Local Governments MN Housing (Capacity Funding) DEED MN Housing GMHF St. Louis County (Home) EDAs/HRAs Local Governments Northeastern Minnesota Entity Arrowhead Regional Development Commission Potential Funding Sources State Appropriation

Project Specific Planning

• • • • •

RDCs CAPs Private Developers HRAs Local Governments

RDCs CAPs Private Developers HRAs Local Governments Land Trust

November 20, 2006

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