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City Council Regular
Meeting Date: 05/07/2019  
Subject:    Consider Adoption of Fair Housing Policy
From: Grant Fernelius, Community Development Director

Council is asked to consider adoption of a Fair Housing Policy to help ensure fair and equal housing opportunities for all residents of Coon Rapids.
Starting in 2018, all cities that choose to participate in the Met Council's Livable Communities Act (LCA) program must have a Fair Housing Policy in place.  The LCA provides various grant funding opportunities for things like Transit Oriented Development (TOD), brownfield clean-up, environmental investigations and other housing activities.  In 2016, the City was successful in securing a $970,000 grant for Sherman's Riverdale TOD project.  Late last year, Common Bond Communities was awarded a $250,000 grant through the Local Housing Incentives Account for the pending rehabilitation of the Galway Place Townhomes. The matching funds for that project are coming from the City's 2018 CDBG allocation. 

A Fair Housing Policy describes the steps that the City will take in furthering the goals and obligations under Federal Fair Housing Act.  In brief, it establishes a statement of purpose; describes steps to provide fair housing information on the City's website, in person visits and referrals; and then outlines how it will evaluate internal practices from training opportunities to periodic city code reviews.  In addition, the policy identifies things the City will do to encourage greater community engagement in the area of Fair Housing practices.  The City's 2040 Comp Plan does address general housing policies and goals (including Fair Housing), but this policy would take a stronger position on the topic.  

A number of cities, including Bloomington, Edina, and Roseville have already enacted policies, which are largely based on a template and guidebook the Met Council developed last year.  Staff believes there is value in having a policy.  There is some time sensitivity to adopting a policy, since funding for the Galway Place town home remodeling is tied to adoption.  Staff did discuss the topic at a work session on April 9th and there was general consensus to pursue a Fair Housing Policy for the City.
Staff recommends that the Council adopt the attached Fair Housing Policy.

Coon Rapids Fair Housing Policy

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