Trouble finding housing in Duluth? You're not alone

BY: APRILL EMIG, LAKE VOICE STAFF This is the first article in a series on housing in Duluth.

Duluth is home to nearly 87,000 people. Our homes range dramatically from studio apartments in downtown Hillside to condos with a view of the lake.

I will be working on a series to document the lives of those who live in Duluth, particularly focusing on low-income individuals. In order to show the diversity of the area, I will contrast their stories with those of students living in houses, public housing and luxury apartments.

photo by: Aprill Emig

The income disparity in Duluth is well documented. According to 2013 census data, 38.6 percent of Duluth’s households make less than $30,000 a year; around 33,000 people are living in these homes.

Also these homes are more than likely over 50 years old, as 65 percent of homes in Duluth are. The average rent for a one bedroom was $720 in 2013, the most recent Housing Indicator Report for Duluth shows. And with a vacancy rate of only 3.7 percent, finding a suitable home becomes a serious challenge.

But a recent addition to the community may help local residents find housing. Last spring, the Duluth city commission approved a Housing Access Center that serves as a central location for renters and landlords.

“Someone looking for an apartment to rent can submit one general application and pay a one-time fee rather than applying for multiple places separately,” councilor at large for the city of Duluth, Zach Filipovich said.

There are also new apartments that are being built.

“We’re now in the works of creating a complex that will be at London Road and 21st street,” Filipovich said.

The construction is set to be complete this spring.

photo by: Aprill Emig

For residents who have trouble finding affordable housing, these apartments won’t provide a solution. They are an addition of BlueStone Lofts, which are luxury apartments running an average of $745 in monthly rent per person.

These apartments - BlueStone Flats - will likely be a success for college students and young professionals in the area. In order to address the lower-end income bracket, Matt Traynor - the community organizer for CHUM - will be hosting a candidate forum on solutions to poverty.

This event is on October 20 at 5:30 p.m. in the Damiano Center. Next week, I will report on what the local candidates have to say.

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