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Albert Lea looks to tackle housing issue

In a meeting Tuesday night, the Albert Lea Workforce Housing Summit is looking to tackle the city’s housing issue.

Posted: Feb. 6, 2018 8:34 PM
Updated: Feb. 7, 2018 7:18 AM

ALBERT LEA, Minn. - The Albert Lea Workforce Housing Summit is looking to tackle the city’s housing issue.

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Those attending filled a room Tuesday night at the Wedgewood Cove Golf Course with several bankers, landlords and those hoping to fix the issue.

One of those in attendance was Bob Ackland, who says he retired years ago, but continues to work at a non-profit called Uplift Housing.

“We buy the older houses and fix them up so they don’t have any major issues later on,” he said. “We make them livable so they can have a yard, a garden and a place to park their car.

Akcland says he is a part of the only organization that is working toward this issue.

“We fixed eighth houses last year,” Ackland said.

But he says there is an even greater need.

“We have a list right now of over 40 people that need housing,” he said. “We need this group to come together and find the answer.”

Those with the city say a housing study was done last year and revealed there is a need of around 100 rental units in Albert Lea as well as single-family homes, but this isn’t a new issue.

“A lot of it is just hearing back from our players who are hiring employees,” said Chad Adams, the Albert Lea City Manager. “They are having a real difficult time having those employees find good quality housing in the community.”

That is why Adams is turning toward the community for help.

“We got to make it easier for people to come in and actually fix this house up,” Akcland said. “There’s not a lot of money in it but there’s a lot of satisfaction in helping where the need is.”

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