Purpose of this report
STRENGTHS AND VULNERABILITIES OF RENTAL HOUSING IN SAINT PAUL’S WEST SIDE NEIGHBORHOOD, is part of a funded project between the City of Saint Paul’s Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity Office (HREEO) and the West Side Community Organization to explore rental housing issues, and engage and organize renters on their rights and fair housing practices.
Over the past year, WSCO staff have compiled and distributed resources for tenants and conducted “Know Your Rights” trainings to renters on the West Side. They’ve facilitated action and resolution between renters and landlords. This work continued through the COVID-19 pandemic, where existing housing issues, especially concerning adequacy and affordability, became more pronounced.
This report compiles data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Metropolitan Council, the City of Saint Paul, and other sources to illustrate current conditions and recent trends from a data-driven lens. However, quantitative, tabular data has considerable limitations and should be interpreted with caution. For example, a real-time data source for monthly contract rent on private market units at small geographic areas simply does not exist. Though the American Community Survey offers high-quality estimates at census tract level, it is based on a rolling sample over a five-year period, thus not reflecting the most recent market conditions. In other words, quantitative data alone is inadequate and incomplete alone, and must be considered alongside the lived experiences of West Side renters and housing providers to achieve the most holistic understanding from which to base policy and programmatic decisions.