We took Policy and a Pint® to Rochester! Our event series sponsored presented by the Citizens League and The Current talked Working to Live in Rochester: Is workforce-priced housing possible in Rochester!
While salary may initially beat location when it comes to considering a new job opportunity, workers are in fact searching for a place to live that offers a good combination of career opportunities AND housing that they can afford. Many workers are finding that their options aren’t always obvious. Rochester—while not quite a New York or San Francisco—offers high-paying jobs, but rent and home prices have shot up beyond the reach of most workers.
“When you have a hot real estate market like Rochester…with these massive investments and a lot of people looking for housing, the market is not paying attention to working families and those with disabilities [and the] elderly in ways it pays attention to people with six-digit incomes,” said Ryan Allen, associate professor of community and economic development at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School.
Rochester needs doctors, nurses, and other highly skilled professionals, but the city also needs to fill other jobs from entry-level positions to service sectors like restaurants and retail – amenities people want where they live. Locations like Rochester with high salaries will continue to lose talent because sky-high rents are outpacing paychecks, so how should the city create workforce-priced housing to attract and retain talent? Should it be left to market forces? When is government intervention appropriate?
We asked these and other questions at this Policy and a Pint® with MPR host, Steve Seel, on June 29th at the Bleu Duck in Rochester.
Joining us for the discussion:
Steve Borchardt, Housing Initiative Director for Rochester Area Foundation. Former Olmstead county Sherriff.
Julie Brock, Workforce Strategy Consultant for the state of Minnesota (DEED). Formerly at the Chamber of Commerce.
Pat Sexton is President of Sexton Public Affairs and recently with the Southeastern Minnesota Realtors association