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Mayo to contribute $4 million toward affordable housing in Rochester area

Mayo to contribute $4 million toward affordable housing in Rochester area

Mayo Clinic will put up $4 million toward affordable housing initiatives as part of a collaborative effort between multiple local organizations.

On Thursday, the Rochester Area Foundation announced the creation of the Coalition for Rochester Area Housing.

The coalition aims to raise $6 million — including Mayo's contribution — over the next two years to help alleviate Rochester's affordable housing problem. The City of Rochester and Olmsted County are also partners on the project.

"This is a good day, indeed!" Steve Borchardt, the foundation's housing director, said in an email announcing the campaign. "It is a day produced by three plus years of hard work by all of us. It is not a day of arriving; rather, it is a day of beginning!"

According to Borchardt, the coalition's leadership council will conduct its first meeting early in 2018. "We have four initial projects currently tee’d up for funding in the first couple months so we can have first-year results," he said.

Related: What can Rochester do to address affordable housing?

This marks the third time in history Mayo has put up funds to assist with affordable housing in the Rochester area.

“Serving our community is a core value for Mayo Clinic,” said Jeff Bolton, chief administrative officer of Mayo Clinic. “Mayo has a long history of working with our community to address affordable housing. We are proud to work with the Rochester Area Foundation, the City, County and the many others committed to finding long-term solutions to meet this challenge.”

According to a news release, coalition funds will be used to:

  • Identify and prioritize opportunities for collective action that address and advance regional affordable workforce housing goals
  • Develop projects that test the viability and feasibility of innovative housing solutions and options
  • Distribute resources to create or preserve affordable and workforce priced housing in the Rochester area in an efficient manner
  • Ensure ongoing participation and involvement from major stakeholders and funders, and
  • Encourage ongoing fundraising from the community

In response to today's announcement, the union-backed organization CURE — which had picketed outside Mayo to demand action on affordable housing — said it was pleased Mayo and the foundation "have finally acted in response to the community concerns brought by CURE and so many others."

"We know that funding projects alone won't solve this crisis, so we will push for real direct community input on how this money is used," said CURE organizer Marian Aanerud. "The people facing this crisis should be at the table so that these funds are used wisely and for the good of all."

You can read more about the coalition here.

Separately on Thursday, Gov. Mark Dayton announced the creation of a new statewide task force on affordable housing. Olmsted County Commissioner Sheila Kiscaden will serve as a local represenative on the task force.

According to state figures, 554,000 Minnesota households struggle to afford quality housing, a 58 percent increase since 2000. 

Cover photo: File / Pixabay

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