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Shoreview is purchasing a tax-forfeited home in the northern part of the city with plans to turn it into an affordable rental, the city's latest effort to grow affordable housing options in the largely middle-class east metro suburb.

Other initiatives include assistance for first-time home buyers and a home improvement loan program.

The city is using federal funds to buy the three-bedroom home at 5931 N. Lexington Av. from Ramsey County's tax forfeiture rolls at a steeply discounted price.

The city is working with the nonprofit Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties, which will renovate and manage the house as a rental.

The Shoreview City Council unanimously approved the purchase and partnership at a meeting this month.

Under a county program, the city will pay about $70,000 for the house, or 25% of the assessed market value of $265,000.

A $110,000 federal Community Development Block Grant awarded to the city will cover the purchase and some repairs.

The city will own the single-family home, which sits on a lot of nearly an acre. City officials may explore subdividing the lot in two in the future to build another home there.

Mayor Sandy Martin said a lot of families are looking to move to her suburb for its good schools and other amenities.

With a population of 27,130, Shoreview has a median household income of nearly $88,000 with just 4% of its residents falling below the federal poverty line, according to U.S. Census data.

"We are so fully developed we really have few opportunities to add affordable housing," Martin said.

"When we find these opportunities, we really need to act on them, especially when it's financially viable."

Shoreview also acquired a home at 910 W. County Road E this year.

The long-term goal is to incorporate the property into an adjacent park, but in the meantime the city is working with a nonprofit to renovate the home and turn it into an affordable rental property, Assistant City Manager Tom Simonson said in an e-mail.

Earlier this spring, the city began exploring the purchase of another piece of land and partnering with the nonprofit Rondo Land Trust to build seven affordable owner-occupied townhouses on Hodgson Road.

Shoreview this year also revamped a first-time home buyer assistance program that offers up to $25,000 in financial help to income-qualifying individuals and families.

In 2019, city leaders created a more robust home improvement loan program and, for the first time, made the city's 214 manufactured homes eligible for assistance. There might be further program revisions done this year, City Planner Kathleen Castle said.

Shannon Prather • 651-925-5037