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The Minnesota Toolbox is an online guide to state and local housing policy developed and maintained by the Center for Housing Policy, the research affiliate of the National Housing Conference in partnership with ULI Minnesota. The purpose of is to collect and provide examples of proven solutions for expanding the availability of homes for working families in support of a full range of housing choices.  The site includes easily accessible information on a broad range of state and local policy tools, as well as guidance on how to put them together to form a comprehensive and effective housing strategy. While geared to state and local decision-makers, is written and designed for use by visitors of all backgrounds and experience levels - from those completely new to housing policy to veteran practitioners including developers and local planning and policy practitioners.
About Housing Policy
Photo courtesy of Potterhill Homes. is not viewed as the definitive word on state and local housing policy, but rather as a framework for organizing the knowledge and experience of policymakers and practitioners from Minnesota and around the country. ULI Minnesota and the Regional Council of Mayors have developed Minnesota specific tools and strategies within the Toolbox where appropriate and have tied each policy toa  Minnesota best practice example.

To help ensure that this site provides comprehensive, timely, and accurate information, we encourage you to share the wealth of experience that you have accumulated over the years.  If you know of promising Minnesota policies that have been missed or if you think we got anything wrong, please tell us! We also invite you to submit examples or images of successful housing developments in your community. Please note that all of the photos used on the site are of real people and housing projects, and were supplied by developers, communities, and other housing-related organizations.
To ensure that you get the most out of your visit, please take a moment to review our brief guide to the site. Go to the How to Use This Site Guide >>

Why focus on working families?
As housing prices and rents have risen, an increasing number of working families - teachers, nurses, fire fighters, and other essential workers - are experiencing difficulty affording their housing costs. Many of these families have incomes that are too high to receive preference for federal housing assistance but too low to benefit from the mortgage interest deduction and other tax policies that promote homeownership.
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occasional updates from! is focused principally on solutions that help these families afford the costs of buying or renting a decent home. However, many of these solutions can be adapted to serve families at other income levels. The Minnesota site provides specific examples of tools and strategies related to supporting a full range of housing choices that is essential for regional economic prosperity.  Click here for more background on the focus of and how the initial policies were selected for inclusion. Click here for links to other organizations that focus on the housing challenges facing households that are poor or homeless, have special needs, or fall within other defined population groups.

Acknowledgements is a partnership between the Center for Housing Policy and the Urban Land Institute of Minnesota's Regional Council of Mayors - Housing Initiative.  The ULI Minnesota Housing Initiative is provided through the generous support of the Family Housing Fund.  The Family Housing Fund is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide safe, affordable, sustainable homes to families and children in the Twin Cities metropolitan area through ongoing partnerships with the public and private sector. was developed with the generous support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Casey Foundation provided funding for the homeownership components of the site, while the MacArthur Foundation funded the rental components. Click on the Foundation logos below to learn more about their work.

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Click here to view a complete list of the Center for Housing Policy's funders.

Notes and Disclaimers
Please note that any opinions expressed on, as well as any errors or omissions on the site, are those of the Center for Housing Policy only and do not necessarily reflect the positions of any funder or other entity.

The material presented on is provided for informational and research purposes, and has been compiled from sources believed to be reliable. With the exception of the Gallery of Affordable Homes (see below), all information is reviewed for accuracy and completeness; however, given the breadth and dynamic nature of the material, we recognize there may on occasion be errors. Please visit the Contact Us page to notify us of any inaccuracies or errors found, as well as any additions or examples you would recommend that we add.

The primary purpose of the Gallery of Affordable Homes is to illustrate the variety, quality, and attractiveness of the nation's affordable housing stock. The Center for Housing Policy believes this information will be useful to policymakers interested in learning what affordable housing looks like and how different subsidy streams and public policies are being used to make these developments possible. The information included in the descriptions of developments is generally provided by outside contributors who either built or developed the project or are otherwise familiar with the details of its development. The Center for Housing Poilcy has no way to verify the accuracy of these submissions and makes no representations regarding their accuracy or the long-term financial viability of the properties.

Links made from to other Web sites do not signify an endorsement of the content of those sites. Users may reproduce any portion of the site, although we do request that attribution be given to

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