The Potluck

Mpls council member hits speed bump on path to housing authority

By: - February 6, 2020 3:12 pm
cedar high apartments

The Cedar High Apartments are among 42 public high-rises managed by the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. Photo Courtesy of MPHA.

It may not be a quick transition from Minneapolis City Council to the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority for Abdi Warsame.

Abdi Warsame would need to resign from his Ward 6 council position to take the helm of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. Photo courtesy of the City of Minneapolis.

Warsame, the 6th Ward council member who was picked to be the executive director of the city’s housing agency, needs a waiver from the federal government — or must wait an entire year before taking over, according to Housing and Urban Development regulations.

Neither Warsame nor the city’s housing agency returned calls from Minnesota Reformer. HUD confirmed Warsame needs the wavier.

Warsame was selected to be the next executive director/CEO of the government agency that serves more than 26,000 people through managing public housing and administering Section 8 housing choice vouchers in the city. His appointment was announced last week at MPHA’s board meeting.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s rule is detailed in Section 19 of Form HUD-53012A, which deals with conflicts of interest. It states, in many more words, that housing authorities cannot contract with public officials or members of local governing bodies while they’re in office or a year after unless they get a waiver from HUD.

It’s unclear if MPHA has submitted the waiver. A staff member in Warsame’s office said they weren’t aware when he would step down from his council seat, which will likely trigger a special election.

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.

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