How Should Twin Cities Suburbs Respond to Increasing Poverty?

A Brookings Institution study found that the number of poor in the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs more than doubled over the past decade.

If the stressed food banks and increasing demand for social services weren’t enough proof, Twin Cities residents now have further evidence that poverty is part of the suburban landscape.

A Brookings Institution study released Monday reports that the number of poor in Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs more than doubled between 2000 and 2011. The 127.9 percent increase in the suburbs was well above the 47.7 percent increase in urban areas.

Click on the PDF to the right of the article to see a summary of the Twin Cities data.

This is a trend providers have been well aware of for some time. Hennepin County's Human Services and Public Health Department is in the process of creating “social services hubs” in the suburbs specifically to create one-stop centers near the areas where residents using the services actually live.

Communities don’t always welcome such efforts, though. Hopkins officials, for example, initially worried that a hub in the city’s downtown could stress the local police force, use up parking and eliminate redevelopment opportunities—although the city eventually came around to the idea.

The Brookings study said the increasing levels of suburban poverty pose unique challenges for existing services. The percentage of suburban students receiving free and reduced-price lunch grew 39 percent in Twin Cities suburbs. And just 28.9 percent of the available jobs are accessible via a 90-minute transit commute.

Patch wants to know how you think Twin Cities suburbs should respond. Is it up to residents to be more generous with their local food shelves? Do communities need news types of infrastructure? Are there key services that are lacking? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Orono May 21, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Mike B. The liberal belief system puts the job of caring for the needy on the government. Jesus said, love thy neighbor as thy self. I do a very poor job of loving my neighbor but the one thing I do try and do is give back. My wife and I give between 15 and 17% every year. We have been blessed with financial success and try keep that in mind every day. Also though, we give ourselves. Giving yourself to a cause is better (in my opinion) than just giving money. We give money because we can, we give our time because we should. I have a few liberal friends working beside me for our causes but, in general, the majority of us are all conservatives. Mark Dayton is a classic example of how the liberal mind works. Give the government the money, let them deal with those losers.
Mike B. June 01, 2013 at 04:29 PM
The Democrats are 100% responsible for increasing poverty in the state. Dayton and his Democrat lackeys and cronies are driving out all of the job producers in Minnesota with their socialist, anti-business policies.
Sue June 05, 2013 at 10:14 AM
Consider this- the (unelected) Met Council controls everything from parks, to trails, to transit, to waste water. If a city wants to do anything they have to work with the Met Council and one of the FAVORITE expectations is that cities ADD "AFFORDABLE" or - Section 8 housing. While the recession hit the suburbs hard - the biggest influx or poor - are the indigenous poor into free housing
cathy June 24, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Dispersal of 'affordable' and subsidized housing has indeed increased the number of low income suburban residents, as it should, and services need to follow. Economic segregation is the new scourge of 21st century America. Empathy and support for the less advantaged among us would be much higher if we all lived together rather than separately. Solving poverty will take much more, but acknowledging it and integrating it into our communities is a start.
Mike B. June 25, 2013 at 09:20 AM
Cathy is incorrect. Why should hard-working Americans see their property values go down to accomodate section 8 housing? Look how once pleasant suburbs such as Brooklyn Park and Richfield have been wrecked.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »