Cities trying to block poor, disabled from moving to town

We give you, now, the NewsCut News Quote of the Day:

“It’s not a discriminatory thing, it’s an economic issue.”

It comes from South St. Paul City Council member Tom Seaberg in today’s Star Tribune, rationalizing the city’s… well, what should it be called? The city, along with West St. Paul, are attempting to close the door to people who receive state assistance for being both low-income and disabled, the newspaper says.

Those people call the cops too much and there is already enough rental housing for the poor and disabled, city officials say. Enough!

West St. Paul passed an ordinance in November prohibiting people who get government rental assistance and support services, a category the state calls “registered housing with services,” from living in the city’s apartments unless they’re already residing there.

People receiving assistance may be mentally ill, physically or mentally disabled or elderly. The services they get range from transportation and nursing care to help with cleaning or money management.

South St. Paul approved an ordinance last month allowing just one unit, or 5 percent of a multifamily building, whichever is greater, to be occupied by people receiving both rental help and support services.

In both cities, existing properties can retain current tenants who fall into that category, but they can’t add more.

Some Dakota County officials, and some housing experts, think the effort stretches legality.

The county says about five police calls a month go to the five apartment buildings on the registered housing list.

It expects someone will sue the cities over the ordinances.