Cook County line. Submitted photo
Submitted photo

Cook County continues to navigate critical need for affordable housing

Cook County continues to lose its long-term rental housing stock, homes in the community are quickly aging even while their values soar and nearly a quarter of all local residents are cost burdened by rent or mortgage payments, according to a recent presentation by the Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP).

A wide-ranging conversation on the challenges of affordable workforce housing took place during a committee of the whole meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners Dec. 15. The meeting, which took place via Zoom, featured an abundance of data and information regarding a critical issue facing Cook County: affordable housing.

The issue itself is not new and many involved in the discussion reiterated that fact. WTIP has been reporting for many years on housing issues facing the community. What’s new to the discussions is the notion of forming a Housing & Redevelopment Authority in Cook County. This would be an entity managed and organized similar to the format the local Economic Development Authority (EDA) operates under. It’s an idea the county board has considered throughout 2020, though no formal action has been taken to create such an entity at this time. The recent committee of the whole meeting was informational only, as the commissioners do not vote or take action in these specific meetings.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with County Administrator James Joerke about the discussion on housing and what comes next in the process. The audio below is their entire conversation which was recorded the day after the recent committee of the whole meeting.