Low-income Minneapolis townhome residents fear redevelopment will force them out

Ladan Yusef has lived at Glendale Townhomes for the last decade, but she's worried plans for the low income housing community will force her and her neighbors from their homes permanently.

"When we leave we don't think we'll be coming back. That's the concern. A lot of people don't want Section 8 vouchers. They want the protection they have now," Yusef said.

The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority says the 184 townhomes built in 1952 are deteriorating faster than they can keep up with maintenance, so it wants to sell the property to a private developer who would replace them with up to 550 apartments that would rent at market rates with 184 set aside for Section 8 vouchers, along with senior and student housing.

"We have plumbing issues and sewer issues and a lot of things you don't see, but the idea is to re-develop, and to re-develop means to demolish these buildings and change the footprint," Cora McCorvey said, who serves as MPHA's executive director.

Some of the roughly 150 East African, Hmong and African American residents who showed up at an informational meeting at Luxton Community Center are afraid they won't be able to find affordable housing while the project is under construction and that the developer won't honor Section 8 vouchers once it's complete. Yusef says if that happens, residents won't only lose their homes, they'll lose their entire community.

"A lot of people have lived here a lot longer than I have," she said. "And they were able to raise their children here and grandchildren and work hard and raise their families, so that's what they'll be losing."

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