(June 23, 2023 – St. Paul, MN)
The city of Brooklyn Park received the League of Minnesota Cities’ 2023 City of Excellence Award for this year’s “Creative Solutions for City Housing Challenges” topical category yesterday at the League’s Annual Conference in Duluth. Brooklyn Park was honored for its “Enhanced Inspections via Door-Knocking at Large Apartments” initiative.
Brooklyn Park Economic Development Authority invested in a study conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) that examined experiences in Brooklyn Park’s large apartment communities. The study found that affordability, safety, and dignity in housing were fundamental concerns for those living in and managing the city’s large apartment communities. CURA’s report recommended the city play a proactive role in collaboration with community members to establish and enforce expectations for property management activities within rental housing.
The door-knocking initiative was piloted after several meetings with renters, city council members, human rights commissioners, city staff, and other community leaders. The initiative focused on addressing maintenance, communication, and other livability concerns at licensed multi-family apartment units — specifically those in the lowest income neighborhoods.
In the three-step door-knocking process, city staff identified large apartment communities that met the criteria to require an enhanced inspection response, informed property managers when their scheduled door-knocking would take place, then connected with residents while door-knocking. While door-knocking, city staff listened to residents’ concerns, informed them of ways to report concerns to property managers, and handed out renter resources (food, housing, and emergency assistance) flyers and magnets. Staff then documented residents’ concerns, followed up on outstanding maintenance requests, and scheduled follow-up inspections.
The City of Excellence Awards are given each year by the League of Minnesota Cities in three population categories and one topical category. The awards recognize cities for outstanding programs or projects. Each winning city will receive a plaque, a check for $1,000, and recognition in League publications and promotional activities throughout the coming year.
The League of Minnesota Cities is a membership organization dedicated to helping cities throughout Minnesota build quality communities through effective advocacy, expert analysis, trusted guidance, and collective action. The League serves its 838 member cities through advocacy, education and training, policy development, risk management, and other services.