When Theresa Dolata moved into her one-bedroom Minneapolis apartment in August 2015, she paid $830 for rent each month. But year after year, her rent increased. Now she pays more than $1,200 every month.
Dolata, 48, along with other renters and housing advocates, gathered for a news conference Thursday afternoon to urge Minneapolis City Council members to support a rent stabilization proposal that would cap residential rent increases at 3 percent, with no exceptions. Afterward, several renters and housing advocates met with City Council President Andrea Jenkins to discuss rent stabilization policy.
Last month, a working group of landlords and tenants formed by Minneapolis council members and Mayor Jacob Frey voted to push forward with a 3 percent cap, recommending that the council approve putting that measure before voters on the November ballot.
Renters and housing advocates, arguing that the measure would be a step in support of economic and racial justice, have been working to secure broad support and commitment for it. Frey, however, has said that he would veto the 3 percent plan if the council sends it to him.
“I will definitely stand with my constituents, my community, to try to come up with the best outcome as possible,” Jenkins said. “But it is going to require both sides to give something.”
Housing advocates from organizations that included ISAIAH, the Service Employees International Union, Jewish Community Action and Unidos MN attended the news conference.
Among those speaking there was Dolata.
“I now pay over 70 percent of my income towards rent, on disability,” said Dolata, who works part-time as a peer support specialist.
Xavier Heim, 26, said he was forced to leave his Minneapolis apartment after his rent increased 20 percent over four years.
“The City Council and the mayor have a chance to listen to our voices and to craft a policy based on the working group’s recommendation to make sure that every person in our city, no matter their wealth, their race, or their zip code has a safe and a stable place to live,” he said.