T07.06.2017 -- Steve Kuchera -- 070917.N.DNT.RentC --  Amber Blakely sits outside the Duluth City Hall recently. The single mother has had difficulties finding affordable and high-quality rental properties. She wants to become active in efforts to hold landlords accountable and improve the city’s rental market. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com

EXCERPT: “It took a year living with her parents for Amber Blakely to find her current three-bedroom rental in 2010. Rushed to find a new home, she’ll end up paying more for a two-bedroom house come August. ‘I’m a single mother, I have a stable job, I have a college degree, my kids are older and not infants,” said Blakely, 32. “The places I looked at were either expensive or complete slums that weren’t safe for children.’ Welcome to the Duluth rental market. With yearlong waiting lists for subsidized housing and a significant shortage of options for the working class, Duluth’s affordable-housing crunch is hitting residents of all backgrounds. ‘It’s not just about the traditional low-income household. It’s definitely a workforce issue here in Duluth,’ said Lee Stuart, executive director of housing advocate CHUM. ‘I know the lack of housing in Duluth for all income levels is hindering our city’s economic development.’ Despite low rents compared with the rest of the state and country, thousands of Duluthians like Blakely spend a third of their incomes or more on housing, Census data shows, and many are spending over half of their pay on rent.” FULLSTORY: http://bit.ly/2sImqsL