July 28, 2016

Field Notes: Leading the MN Challenge

MN Challenge logo

By Sam Carlsen, Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow

The current Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellows share their ideas, inspirations and photos from the field on our blog. Learn more about the Fellowship.

The Minnesota Challenge to Lower the Cost of Affordable Housing is happening right now! Affordable housing professionals from across Minnesota have accepted the challenge to create and implement innovative concepts to lower the systematic costs of developing affordable housing. Minnesota Housing, the McKnight Foundation, the Urban Land Institute of Minnesota/Regional Council of Mayors, and Enterprise Community Partners are teaming up to sponsor this idea competition.

The MN Challenge is a two-phased competition that will provide up to $100,000 for the development and implementation of ideas to lower the cost of affordable rental housing, and cultivate and collect innovative strategies for lowering the per unit cost of financing, developing, and building affordable multi-family housing (preserved or new).

On January 28 we gathered affordable housing developers, architects, builders, lenders, funders, tax credit syndicators, lawyers, state and local leaders, advocates, researchers and accountants, to kick-off of the MN Challenge. The event featured Michael Spotts presenting the findings from the Enterprise –ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing research on Bending the Cost Curve: Solutions to Expand the Supply of Affordable Rentals We hope theBending the Cost Curve report will be a guiding document for this challenge and a “living document” in Minnesota. The MN Challenge will hopefully combine the experience and expertise of the MN Challenge participants from many professional perspectives to create unique solutions that are well suited for Minnesota’s markets and communities.  

How the MN Challenge Fits With the Rose Fellowship

Helping connect the thought-leaders with the practitioners of affordable housing development has been a key part of the MN Challenge and my entire fellowship. As a Rose Fellow it’s gratifying to combine the affordable housing development knowledge I’ve gained during the last two years with engagement techniques I love from community design into this project. Enabling the creation and implementation of a concept to lower the cost of affordable housing across Minnesota is exactly the type of long-term impact that drew me to the Rose Fellowship.

Learn more about the MN Challenge and follow our progress at www.mnchallenge.com.

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