BEMIDJI -- The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities is gearing up for another legislative session with a focus on housing for 2020.
To help prepare, the CGMC held a survey in collaboration with Greater Minnesota Partnership to gather opinions on housing needs across the state.
The survey closed Sept. 13 and last week, the results were finalized and shared with the public.
According to Bradley Peterson, CGMC executive director, the survey had 105 responses from 71 communities.
"We're trying to speak to the Greater Minnesota needs out there," Peterson said. "One of the reasons we wanted to get into this discussion is because sometimes it feels like a lot of solutions brought forward are done with a lens on the metro area in mind."
Peterson said nearly 60 percent selected lack of workforce housing as their primary concern, with other issues related to affordable housing and quality of housing following close behind. The survey also found 60 percent of respondents saying there was a need for more single-family homes and 40 percent describing a need for multi-family housing units.
"What it spoke to was an all of the above strategy," Peterson said. "Workforce housing is of course an important part, but in Bemidji and Moorhead, low-income housing was listed as an important priority. There was broad commonality, but there were also plenty of local circumstances."
In the months ahead, Peterson said the CGMC will internally determine where lobbying efforts can have the most impact.
"We haven't quite landed on solutions, yet," Peterson said. "It may be tweaking different programs or the creation of an entirely new program. There are many that exist, but sometimes they can work for a community and sometimes they don't. Maybe what the state will need to do is create a more flexible pool of money that communities can experiment with, allowing them to do more innovative things."
The CGMC's next event is its fall conference from Nov. 14-15 in Alexandria. The Minnesota Legislature is adjourned until Feb. 11.