Mayor Frey signs 2019 Minneapolis budget with focus on affordable housing

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To a room full of applause, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey made it official Thursday when he signed the city’s 2019 budget with a huge focus on affordable housing.

“Thanks to our city’s collective commitment to addressing housing, our city is poised to lead the nation in affordable housing work,” said Mayor Jacob Frey.

The $1.5 billion budget includes $40 million in city funds for affordable housing work to help jumpstart projects like Minnehaha Commons.

The complex is going up now on East Lake Street and will soon house 40 studio apartments specifically for homeless seniors.

“I have to tell you, we have some major problems coming on that no one wants to talk about,” said one commenter at the Wednesday night meeting.

Perhaps the most controversial component of the budget is the council’s reallocating about $1 million from the Minneapolis Police Department for community-based efforts to reduce violence.

“Your strategy is to cut MPD budget and undermine Mayor Frey on the issue of building police-community relations is the same strategy the last council used against Mayor Hodges,” said another speaker.

A passionate, late evening crowd tried to change the minds of lawmakers, but ultimately proved unsuccessful.

“The City Council is really prioritizing a balanced approach to public safety,” said Council President Lisa Bender. “Yes, we’ve invested in the police department, but we also have to invest in more preventative strategies, helping stop violence before it starts.”