A group of advocates has been working diligently to re-open the Housing Access Center. HAC will provide information, education and problem solving to tenants and landlords and work to prevent evictions. This is a needed service in our community!
1Roof Community Housing has agreed to host the program and St Louis County and several foundations have made financial commitments. What we need now is a financial commitment from the City of Duluth to get the program off the ground.
Please take a few minutes today to send an email to the following people:
- Duluth City Council <firstname.lastname@example.org> (this address will reach all of the councilors)
- Duluth Mayor Don Ness <email@example.com>
Why we need HAC
- HAC will meet an unmet need for a large and geographically diverse population. More than 40% of Duluthians are renters and many Duluth landlords own just a handful of units and do not have access to the same resources as large property management companies. Before it closed in 2009, more than 2,000 renters and landlords utilized HAC's hotline, mediation or counseling services per year (over 90% of them for the first time).
- There are as many as 500 eviction filings in Duluth every year. Each eviction costs thousands of dollars in court fees, lost rent and other expenses for landlords and renters. It also costs the City, St Louis County, and the community as a whole in the form of emergency housing and stabilization services. In Duluth's tight rental market, eviction often leads to prolonged homelessness.
- HAC will offer free, one-on-one mediation, but most of its work will happen long before this is needed. Its focus will be on education, counseling and referrals. There is NO free, pre-eviction service of this kind available in the Duluth area.
- The City is responsible for overseeing rental properties. HAC will greatly enhance the work of the City to ensure a functional and fair rental market and to promote neighborhood stability.
- The City formally adopted the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness in 2007. HAC was part of the original 10 Year Plan and re-opening it was identified as a top community priority for 2014 by community stakeholders. Funding HAC is in line with Duluth's commitment to the plan.
- The City's contribution to HAC will be miniscule compared to other line items in the budget, and will be offset by reduced evictions and rental turnover, reduced police calls to problem properties and a better overall rental market. Promoting housing and neighborhood stability at the front end is far more cost effective than managing the symptoms of a challenging rental market.