Simplifying Affordable Housing
HousingLink was established as a result of the 1995 Hollman v Cisneros Consent Decree. The goal was improved housing conditions and greater awareness of housing options in different neighborhoods for families participating in the Section 8 voucher and public housing programs.
One provision of the decree stipulated that an affordable housing information clearinghouse be established to ensure that low-to-moderate income families have access to the affordable housing information they need. HousingLink was organized in 1997 as a 501(c)3 organization to meet this need, and we began providing vacancy information as well as training and support to housing service agencies. Since that time, HousingLink has become Minnesota's primary source for affordable housing-related openings, data, information and resources.
HousingLink's mission is "connecting people to affordable rental homes, increasing choice and access for all." There are over 45,000 searches each month for affordable rental housing on our website. We also publish the status of subsidized housing waiting lists in the Twin Cities through the Housing Authority Waiting List.
Renters and service agencies also use Housing Tips and training we provide to solve housing problems. Staff at human service agencies in Minnesota use HousingLink's resources to help their clients overcome barriers to their housing search, and to answer questions about subsidized housing programs in Minnesota.
Landlords and property managers use HousingLink to advertise their rental housing openings for free. This expands the housing and neighborhood choices to renters in Minnesota.
Finally, HousingLink conducts research that is used by policymakers and research organizations to shape affordable housing policy in the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota.
- EQUITY. We understand that many people have unique challenges with housing access and stability. We believe all renters deserve equitable access to an affordable home.
- RACIAL AND ETHNIC EQUITY. Black people, Indigenous people, and all people of color are much more likely to experience housing discrimination. We prioritize their voices and perspectives to guide our work.
- PEOPLE. Our work is centered on the people we serve. This includes honoring our staff as whole people.
- RELIABILITY AND TRUST. We are a trusted source of information for renters, landlords, policymakers, and the communities we serve.
- INNOVATION. We continually find new and better ways to provide affordable rental housing information.
- CONTINUOUS LEARNING. We learn from the communities we serve.
We incorporate those lessons into our resources and programs.
Race shapes people’s housing experience across Minnesota.These differences are not only the result of individual actions. Throughout history, people in power have limited housing access and stability for people in BIPOC communities. Decision-makers include staff and elected leaders at all levels of government, nonprofits, and businesses. These decisions prevented Black, indigenous, and other people of color from building wealth. Segregation, displacement, discrimination, tolerating substandard homes, and other practices created today's disparities.
These practices are deeply-rooted in our system, with many still in place today. They reinforce the status quo in complex and subtle ways and continue to deepen disparities in housing based on race. HousingLink aims to remedy racial housing inequities in Minnesota. This requires both dismantling those harmful systems and practices, and repairing past harms.
HousingLink was founded in response to some of these racist practices. The 1995 Hollman v. Cisneros case found public housing in Minneapolis had created and perpetuated racial segregation. The resulting consent decree created HousingLink. Our charge was providing a metro-wide clearinghouse of affordable rental options for low-income families. We connect people to affordable rental homes, increasing choice and access for all. Our website provides vacancy listings, renter education and programs, and training for property managers/owners.
We hear what Black, indigenous, and people of color have named for decades: racial inequity is a problem in Minnesota. This inequity is found in education, wealth, health, and housing.
HousingLink focuses on racial justice by:
- Applying a racial equity lens to all current and future programs. We will be intentional in assessing the impacts for Black people, indigenous people, and all people of color.
- Centering renter experiences and input to improve our programs.
- Making our website more welcoming and easier to use. We will intentionally engage with Black renters, indigenous renters and other renters of color to advise us.
- Shifting our organization policies, culture and programs to increase racial equity. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee sets measurable goals and holds us accountable to them.
- We invite you to join us on this journey and to share your wisdom as we all strive to build a Minnesota where everyone can thrive, no matter their race.
Click here to see what our original website looked like.
Click here to view our second website design.
Click here to view our third website design.