1A Across America: How U.S. Cities Are Tackling The Affordable Housing Crisis "In the U.S. and every American city, the issue of housing is tied to race," Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender told us. "We had an opportunity to look at the problems of displacement [and] evictions." Bender says in our history, racism has been codified in zoning laws.

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1A Across America: How U.S. Cities Are Tackling The Affordable Housing Crisis

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1A Across America: How U.S. Cities Are Tackling The Affordable Housing Crisis

1A

1A Across America: How U.S. Cities Are Tackling The Affordable Housing Crisis

1A Across America: How U.S. Cities Are Tackling The Affordable Housing Crisis

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/755113175/755126576" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Pedestrians brave the cold to go for a walk on the Stone Arch Bridge earlier this year in Minneapolis, Minnesota. STEPHEN MATUREN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES hide caption

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STEPHEN MATUREN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Pedestrians brave the cold to go for a walk on the Stone Arch Bridge earlier this year in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

STEPHEN MATUREN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

It's getting harder for many Americans to pay rent or buy a home.

Working full-time for minimum wage does not pay enough to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment, anywhere in the country. In California, you'd have to make nearly $35 an hour.

In June, President Trump created an affordable housing council. And some Democratic presidential candidates are making affordable housing a priority on the campaign trail and in television ads.

But cities are not waiting for the federal government to fix the shortage. Minneapolis is one of them. It's making some sweeping changes to address affordable housing — such as changing zoning laws to increase density in certain areas.

This process, known as "upzoning," has been tried or considered in Portland, Charlotte, Austin and Seattle. This year, Oregon's legislature passed a bill to upzone the entire state.

Today's episode is part of our special series, 1A Across America, that aims to bring more local and regional perspectives to the national conversation. We explored upzoning as one way cities are trying to close the housing gap.

To better understand upzoning, we spoke with Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender and Laura Bliss, West Coast Bureau Chief of City Lab — an urban policy and politics website from The Atlantic magazine. We also spoke with Minneapolis residents and heard from you.

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