News & Updates
This page contains the latest content we have posted. If you are looking for a specific resource or reference, check out our Resource Library. If you are looking for information about our work on a specific topic, you can look on the Our Work page.
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HJC welcomes Associate Director, Litigators, Office Manager, and Tenant Organizer VISTA
Ivory Taylor, Abbie Hanson, Jessica Szuminski, Ellie Benson, and Emma Diers have joined the Housing Justice Center team…
Ordinance 22-37 through a renter justice lens
In November of 2021, St. Paulites across race, income, and ward to vote YES for a strong rent stabilization policy to Keep St. Paul Home for all. Now, Council President Amy Brendmoen and Councilmember Chris Tolbert have co-authored Ordinance 22-37, which would make significant amendments to the rent stabilization policy voters passed. Learn from Housing Justice Center’s policy breakdown…
Was your rental application denied due to something in your tenant screening report? There is hope
Being denied housing due to something in your tenant screening report can be discouraging. But there are steps you can take to turn that “No” into a “Yes.” At the Housing Justice Center we assist many tenants with this issue through our Renters Reclaim the Record project — call us at 1-800-429-1705 to learn more. In the meantime, here’s some basic information that can also help you succeed in securing a place to call home…
Eight common questions regarding St. Paul’s rent stabilization ordinance
First, housing justice organizers collected over 9,000 signatures to get rent stabilization on the ballot. Then, over 30,000 St. Paul voters came together across race, class, and zip code and voted yes to Keep St. Paul Home for everyone this past November. Now, as we continue to advocate for the strongest rent stabilization possible, Housing Justice Center is answering some common questions from renters about the policy…
Teresa Garcia-Delcompare officially joins HJC staff as Community Organizer
Over the past year, Housing Justice Center hosted Teresa Garcia-Delcompare as a HOME Line AmeriCorps VISTA Tenant Organizer. Now, HJC is honored to welcome Teresa as its newest full-time Community Organizer…
HJC recognizes and reflects on Fair Housing Month
54 years ago this month, the Fair Housing Act was passed, prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, and gender. The Act was later amended to include familial status and disability. Upon signing the historic legislation, President Lyndon B. Johnson noted the beginning of a new era, where fair housing for all would become “a part of the American way of life.” But are we there yet?
HJC welcomes Tram Hoang as Director of Policy and Research
Housing Justice Center is delighted to announce Tram Hoang as its new Director of Policy and Research. Tram was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and her community development perspectives are heavily shaped by the gentrification and displacement she witnessed growing up in North Portland…
RentHelpMN application portal closure leaves Minnesotans in need, communities of color disproportionately harmed
We are concerned that RentHelpMN is closed to application as many Minnesotans remain in dire need, in the dead of winter, with a continuing COVID-19 pandemic. We urge the Governor and Legislature to appropriate funds for emergency housing assistance to ensure housing stability for Minnesota families; without continued funding, the number of Minnesotans facing displacement, eviction, and even homelessness will escalate…
MHP, ACER, and HJC co-convene Minnesota ERASE campaign
The Minnesota ERASE Campaign (End Rental Arrears and Stop Evictions) is an effort to ensure that the historic aid enacted by Congress reaches the lowest-income and most marginalized renters it is intended to help. We are working to eliminate rental indebtedness caused by the pandemic, prevent evictions, and create support for long term policy changes to end housing instability and homelessness…
HJC welcomes new attorney, paralegal, and rental assistance navigator
Housing Justice Center has grown remarkably over the last few months, welcoming Larry McDonough, Zaria Whitlock, and Markanetta Smith to the team…
Fixing a Hole: the Fritz defense revisited
The pay-to-defend requirement has turned Minnesota eviction actions into a one-way street flowing straight toward eviction; due process has become a meaningless promise to the poor…
RentHelpMN and the eviction moratorium off-ramp
Over the past 16 months, we saw the statewide eviction moratorium function as a powerful public health intervention that kept people in their homes. And while our desire for a world with no evictions remains, we now face the end of the eviction moratorium and an incoming surge in evictions…
HJC offers RentHelpMN assistance at Cedar Knolls
Over the last few months, HOME Line VISTA Tenant Organizer Teresa Garcia-Delcompare has been working in conjunction with Pueblos de Lucha y Esperanza and Housing Justice Center to organize in her manufactured home park community. This past weekend, several of her efforts came together in one large community event at Cedar Knolls…
Downside risk of immediate repeal of S.A.F.E. Housing Ordinance
Housing Justice Center provides this memo to summarize the significant downside risk of immediately repealing St. Paul’s S.A.F.E. Housing ordinance as a response to Judge Magnuson’s adverse preliminary injunction order in the Lamplighter case…
HJC announces new board leadership
Housing Justice Center is proud to announce the appointment of Walter Battle as the Chair of the Board of Directors, replacing Rick Kahn, who has served in the role since 2008. Martha Hernandez-Martinez has been named as Vice-Chair, Howard Goldman as Treasurer, and Eric Hauge as Secretary. Together the Board of Directors and President Margaret Kaplan will work to address key housing justice issues, including the impact of COVID-19 on renters statewide.
Mayor Carter has no authority over land use appeals, and his recent veto holds no power
On February 5, 2021, the St. Paul Planning Commission denied a site plan application by Alatus for an apartment development adjacent to the Lexington Station area. Pursuant to § 61.702(a) of the Zoning Code, Alatus appealed to the City Council. At its April 7, 2021 meeting, the Council adopted a resolution denying the appeal, and at its April 14 meeting adopted a resolution memorializing that decision. Before the April 14 Council meeting had ended, Mayor Carter purported, in a three-page document, to veto the April 14 action by the Council.
HJC supports community call for equity and affordability at Lexington and University
The conversation around the two vacant lots at the intersection of Lexington Parkway and University Avenue is two years in the making, encapsulating the tension between community needs and developer priorities. Housing Justice Center works to protect and expand affordable housing, so a proposed development close to transit with no meaningful, substantiated commitment to affordability was a natural place for HJC to intervene.
HJC files class action tenant lawsuit to stop construction harassment in New Brighton
In April 2020, Housing Justice Center represented a group of New Brighton tenants, along with HOME Line, in filing a class-action lawsuit against QT Property Management (QT), its owner Jason Quilling and the City of New Brighton. HJC argued QT engaged in “construction harassment,” a tactic increasingly used by landlords to oust low-income renters by making living conditions unbearable, remodel the building, and bring in new tenants for much higher rents.
Opening the Door: Tenant Screening and Selection
When an apartment becomes available in the Twin Cities, who gets to move in? And perhaps more importantly, who doesn’t?
To answer those questions, we partnered with Family Housing Fund to publish a new report examining the methods and systems used by landlords to screen and select tenants. We found that the current methods and systems used are often unpredictable and can result in disparate treatment, the consequences of which extend beyond prospective tenants and their families to communities and society as a whole.
HJC files an amicus brief supporting Minnesota’s eviction moratorium
This past December, Minnesota’s statewide eviction moratorium became the target of a preliminary injunction motion. Two Twin Cities property owners, Heights Apartments and Walnut Trails, filed their suit in September, seeking to invalidate Governor Walz’ Executive Order No. 20-79 for several alleged violations of their constitutional rights.
HJC assists in Emergency Rental Assistance application process during pandemic
CHAP was launched in August and stopped formally accepting applications on December 7th, 2020. Toward the end of this window, Housing Justice Center was able to assist renters and homeowners statewide as they navigated the CHAP application process. The individual application assistance was led by Shana Tomenes, Housing Justice Center’s Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Target Corporation, and supported by pro-bono volunteers, also from Target Corporation.
HJC in the News
7/5/22 — MN Reformer
Tenants say landlords are skirting St. Paul rent control with new utility charges
7/1/22 — KYMN Radio
Viking Terrace residents uneasy, apprehensive over management change
4/29/22 — CBS Minnesota
St. Paul rent control ordinance kicks in Sunday, capping increases at 3%
4/25/22 — MinnPost
Housing advocates want lawmakers to restart and replenish Minnesota’s halted rental assistance program
3/1/22 — Star Tribune
Brooklyn Center tenants sue landlord over expired license, discriminatory practices
2/28/22 — CCX Media
Brooklyn Park nonprofit makes plea for emergency rental assistance
2/23/22 — MyVillager
Rent control ordinance’s 3% cap will work best without any exemptions
1/28/22 — CBS Minnesota
‘We’re really worried’: rent assistance orgs face influx of calls as state program abruptly stops applications
11/26/21 — Star Tribune
Rent escrow requirement prevents tenants from challenging poor living conditions, lawyers say
11/17/21 — Minnesota Reformer
St. Paul rent control advocates push back on ‘disaster narratives’ as developers rethink projects
9/14/21 — Star Tribune
State owns failure to get aid to renters
7/20/21 — Star Tribune
Renting can be tough for reformed gang members
5/25/21 — MPR News
Tenants worry and landlords fume over eviction ban
4/29/21 — Minnesota Reformer
Where is the rental assistance?
4/5/21 — CapRadio
Nixing single-family zoning: will it make housing more affordable?
3/31/21 — Minnesota Spokesman Recorder
Wilder Foundation charged with selling out its mission
3/30/21 — Minnesota Reformer
St. Paul residents launch rent stabilization campaign to cap increases at 3%
3/30/21 — KARE 11
St. Paul group aims to put rent control on ballot
12/8/20 — Star Tribune
Landlords go to court to fight Gov. Walz’s eviction moratorium
5/12/20 — Star Tribune
Minnesota legal advocates race to prepare for eviction court in COVID-19 world
2/23/20 — Pioneer Press
Karen teen outreach leads to neighborhood complaint against St. Paul landlord