The Homes for All coalition is advocating for a historic $130 million in housing infrastructure bonds in the upcoming legislative session. The bonds will be used to preserve rental housing, develop new rental housing, develop homeownership opportunities, and create new units for Minnesotans experiencing homelessness. The ask includes a $110 million investment in Housing Infrastructure Bonds (HIB) and $20 million in General Obligation (GO) bonds for public housing and builds on the success of the coalition's $100 million bonding ask in 2014.
Part of the reasoning behind the $130 million ask is the anticipation of new housing needs across the state, namely housing for low-income seniors. A new proposed eligible use for the Housing Infrastructure Bonds would be senior-only housing. Currently over 149,000 elderly households in Minnesota qualify for affordable senior housing, yet only 23,400 affordable senior-only housing units are available. This group is the fastest growing population experiencing homelessness. The baby-boomer generation approaching the 55+ threshold will need more affordable senior housing than currently available. By investing proactively in this growing need, Minnesota can provide quality, affordable units for a growing senior population and ensure that Minnesota’s seniors can age in place.
The coalition also anticipates increased housing investment needed to address Minnesota’s approved Olmstead Plan that details a program for improved, integrated living standards for households with disabilities. People with disabilities often require support services paired with their housing in order to thrive in their communities. More housing funds from a bonding bill would help create these supportive units and allow people with disabilities to better integrate into their communities.
As part of Homes for All, MHP encourages all Minnesotans to endorse the $130 million for housing bonding request. This request represents a significant investment in Minnesotan communities that will provide lasting housing solutions. An estimated 4,100 low-income households will benefit from $130 million bonding dollars which is one step closer to housing stability for all Minnesotans.
*Note on bonding: Every even numbered year the Minnesota legislature passes a large "bonding" bill or "capital investment" bill that invests in larger projects across the state. Housing Infrastructure Bonds (HIB) and General Obligation (GO) bonds always figure into the larger bonding bill with HIB bonds used to finance private affordable housing developments and GO bonds going to preserve public housing. A bonding bill must pass the legislature with a three fifths majority and then be signed by the Governor. The Governor can then sign, veto, or veto by line (essentially vetoing specific projects) the larger bonding bill.