Believing that Eden Prairie will continue to be a thriving community if it has a wide range of housing – including homes affordable for our children or grandchildren, our starting-wage police officers and school teachers, our seniors and low-income families – the Eden Prairie Community Foundation has launched the Housing Alliance.
Its kick-off meeting was Friday, June 24, at the Eden Prairie City Center.
The Housing Alliance brings together people from the development and real estate communities, faith and nonprofit leaders, the city and schools, and other local residents who are interested in this topic and in finding a common set of facts that will help residents understand why affordable housing is important.
The Alliance’s first year will be dedicated to making residents more aware and informed about housing as a topic and need. “The role will mainly be educational,” said organizer and Foundation board member Janet Eian.
Eventually, the Alliance’s work may expand to advocacy and support for the City of Eden Prairie’s considerable efforts to make sure Eden Prairie has a wide range of housing stock, including affordable housing.
Housing is one of the areas the Foundation has identified as a topic of interest in its current Strategic Plan. Others include unemployment and under-employment, which resulted in the Make-It Manufacturing Career Fair the Foundation held in April in conjunction with the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce, the City of Eden Prairie, and others.
Creation of the Housing Alliance was pursued after Foundation staff and volunteers explored other communities’ work on this topic, including the Rochester Area Community Foundation’s work to create affordable housing in that Minnesota city.
“Housing is certainly an important part of our future,” noted Joan Palmquist, a Foundation volunteer who facilitated Friday’s meeting. “Our assignment is to figure out how to inform residents and others on why affordable housing is needed and to diminish some of the stigma.”
While the Alliance will operate under the umbrella of the Foundation, it will elect its own leadership so it can carry out its work in an orderly and efficient way. Members of the Alliance are Carol Bomben, Scott Carlston, Christine Erickson, Toni Glenn, Joan Howe-Pullis, Reta Johnson, Jenifer Loon, Lyndon Moquist, Nathan Nyren, Gary Olson, Zach Riley, Kuhu Singh, and Lisa Toomey. Joining in an advisory capacity are Molly Koivumaki and Jonathan Stanley.
The city has already taken steps in this area, convening a task force that made several recommendations on housing policy. The task force has disbanded, but the city continues to work on some of those policy initiatives.
The nonprofit Foundation has a history of convening residents on community needs, including work to organize a nonprofit news start-up (Eden Prairie Local News) following the 2020 demise of the Eden Prairie News newspaper.
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