Annual housing forum to explore lessons on affordability, equity from Minneapolis 

Andrea Brennan is the director of housing policy and development for Minneapolis, which recently adopted a bold new plan that will transform the way the city will grow.

Andrea Brennan is the director of housing policy and development for Minneapolis, which recently adopted a bold new plan that will transform the way the city will grow.

The Alliance for Housing Solutions’ June 5 Leckey Forum will focus on housing affordability and equity, specifically what can be learned from the new “Minneapolis 2040” plan, which takes steps toward addressing historic patterns of segregation and lack of affordability.

Keynote speaker Andrea Brennan, director of housing policy and development for Minneapolis, will speak about the bold new plan and how the city engaged its residents in a multi-year process to gain support.

Among other things, Minneapolis 2040 eliminates single-family zoning to allow for the development of multi-family properties citywide, eliminates minimum parking requirements, and allows for greater density along transportation corridors.

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In an interview with the Urban Institute Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey said the plan intentionally counteracts historic and intentional segregation that discriminated against black people and Jews. The goal is to “reshape how our city functions to create a diversity of housing options in every neighborhood.”

In an interview with the Urban Institute Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey said the plan intentionally counteracts historic and intentional segregation that discriminated against black people and Jews. The goal is to “reshape how our city functions to create a diversity of housing options in every neighborhood.”

In an interview with the Urban Institute Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey said the plan intentionally counteracts historic and intentional segregation that discriminated against black people and Jews. The goal is to “reshape how our city functions to create a diversity of housing options in every neighborhood.”

In an interview with the Urban Institute Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey said the plan intentionally counteracts historic and intentional segregation that discriminated against black people and Jews. The goal is to “reshape how our city functions to create a diversity of housing options in every neighborhood.”

In an interview with the Urban Institute Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey said the plan intentionally counteracts historic and intentional segregation that discriminated against black people and Jews. The goal is to “reshape how our city functions to create a diversity of housing options in every neighborhood.”

Arlington, too, has a history of housing segregation and discrimination. Last year’s Leckey Forum explored that history in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Fair Housing Act.

“This year’s forum builds on our conversation from last year,” said Michelle Winters, executive director of AHS. “We’re looking forward to learning from what Minneapolis is doing so that we can address the issues of housing equity and affordability in our own community.”

In her 2019 New Year’s remarks Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol said, “It is time to revise our zoning ordinances to allow different, diverse, and affordable home types throughout the county.”

Currently 86.74 percent of developable residential property in Arlington is zoned “single-family detached exclusive” but half of the county’s residents live in the three transportation corridors (Rosslyn-Ballston, Route 1, and Columbia Pike).

The county recently took one step toward zoning changes on May 18 by voting to allow for new accessory dwellings to be built on single-family properties and making it easier to convert existing accessory buildings into residences. The county estimates that about 44 percent of single-family properties would be eligible to build under their new regulations, though it is expected that this type of growth will be incremental.

The Leckey Forum will open with remarks from Aisha Alexander Young, senior director for strategy and equity at the Meyer Foundation. Following Brennan’s keynote and audience Q&A, a panel of housing experts will explore what lessons Arlington could learn from Minneapolis. Panelists include Chuck Bean, executive director of Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments; Solomon Greene, senior fellow at the Urban Institute; and Kathleen McSweeney of the Arlington County Planning Commission. Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey will conclude the forum.

The Leckey Forum is a free event designed to educate the public about housing affordability issues. The event will be held Wednesday, June 5 from 3-6 p.m. in Central Library’s Donnellan Auditorium. Space is limited and participants are asked to register in advance to ensure their attendance.

Media are invited to interview the speakers directly following the forum.

The Alliance for Housing Solutions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to increase the supply of affordable housing in Arlington County and Northern Virginia through public education, policy development, advocacy and innovation.