Affordable Housing and Universal Design - Think Again Brooklyns Print E-mail


The Human Right to Affordable Housing

and Universal Design for Everyone


Tuesday, May 21
6 p.m. - Free Salad and Pizza Buffet                  6:30 - 8:30 p.m. - Program


Brooklyn Park City Council Chambers

5200 85th Avenue N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443 

This forum covers the human right of individuals and families to have adequate housing. According to the Minnesota Compass Project, a majority of renters, almost 58%, in Brooklyn Park pay more than 30% of their income for their rent. 23.5% of home owners pay over 30% of their income for their housing expenses. This means about one third of Brooklyn Park’s residents are what is considered overly burdened by the cost of their housing. This housing cost burden is similar in Brooklyn Center and a little less in New Hope, Crystal, and Robbinsdale. Maple Grove and Champlin have fewer cost burdened households, but they still comprise over 20% of the residents in these cities. The first part of this forum will discuss the need for affordable housing for substantial numbers of the residents of the NW suburbs.

The second part of the forum will deal with the failure of laws regarding people with disabilities to meet the needs of MN’s rapidly aging population. Currently less than one percent of dwellings are adapted for people with disabilities. People over the age of 75 when disabilities are most common will increase by 235% between 2020 and 2040 in Minnesota.


Twin Cities Metropolitan Area Growth in 65, 75, and 85 Plus Populations


twin cities metro projected growth in 75 

Requiring Universal Design in new multi and single family construction would make it possible for people with disabilities to age in place and to continue their relationships with other people as well as their interests and activities. But that’s not all it would do. It would also save billions of dollars that would otherwise be spent on assisted living facilities and nursing homes when people with disabilities are not able to function in their own homes.


breanne rothsteinWelcome and Introduction to Brooklyn Park Housing Initiatives


Breanne Rothstein - City of Brooklyn Park Economic Development

and Housing Director

Universal Design - What, When, and How Much?

Thomas J. Budzynski - Home Builder - TJB Homes

Tom Budzynski will give us an overview of what Universal Design is, when you should consider it, how it improves your chance of aging in place, and its variation in cost for new construction versus remodeling an existing home as well as for different types of homes.


traci kruseUniversal Design Keeps People with Disabilities in their Communities
Traci Kruse - U of M Professor in Occupational Therapy

Professor Traci Kruse will discuss how people with a variety of temporary and permanent disabilities due to neuromuscular diseases, heart and lung problems, hip and knee replacements, accidents, and limited vision can continue living in a dwelling that has Universal Design features that make a home accessible for them. Dr. Kruse has practiced clinically in home health for 9 years. She is passionate about aging in place and home safety, along with cognition, memory, and making it possible for people to maintain their activities of interest through their lifespan.

Question and Answer Session


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MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at

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How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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