The Minneapolis City Council has proposed bringing back a model called Single Room Occupancy (SRO) in order to combat homelessness and provide more affordable housing options. Minneapolis City Council Members Cam Gordon, Lisa Goodman and Jeremy Schroeder are putting together an ordinance to make it easier to have Single Room Occupancy buildings in Minneapolis.
In SRO situations, renters have their own room but will share areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. In some situations, renters have their own room with an attached bathroom and share a communal kitchen while in other situations, each floor has a shared bathroom and kitchen. The rent typically would start at around $350 per month.
SROs were more common in the 1900s, being especially prevalent beginning in the 1920s. According to the Minn Post, at that time “an SRO unit could easily be found in any major city in America.” In the 1960s, however, many of the SRO buildings were demolished as single family homes became more popular. There are several SROs in Minneapolis already, but a ban exists on applying for permits to start any new homes. The proposed ordinance would remove that ban and allow nonprofits and the government to open more SROs.
A group called Neighbors for More Neighbors is working to help get more SRO buildings in Minneapolis. They asked supporters to contact city council members and other city employees to voice their support for SROs and to also take issue with some of the wording in the new proposed ordinance. According to Neighbors for More Neighbors, the “recent ordinance proposed to accomplish this barely makes a start. It would ban SROs in wealthier neighborhoods of single-family homes and only permit SROs that are operated by government or nonprofits. This would effectively deny these very affordable homes to most of our city.”
The group explained that “our city is at the epicenter of a worldwide reckoning over systemic racism, yet encampments in city parks are a visible reminder of what decades of failed housing policy have produced.”
Their talking points from Neighbors for More Neighbors include changing the requirements for SROs so that they do not have to be managed by the government or nonprofits, changing the limitations on capacity from two occupants so that families could utilize the service, and permitting SROs citywide.
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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network and The College Fix. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to [email protected]