Congressman Keith Ellison’s “Housing Funding Strategy is Upside-Down” opinion piece, recently published in the Star Tribune, outlines how the federal government’s investment in housing is “upside-down.”
The record $162 million awarded for housing development last month by Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) will touch thousands of Minnesota households, ensuring that housing is created and preserved for people who need a place to call home. As MHP reported in a recent post, for every dollar awarded there were almost two dollars’ worth of requests that were left unfunded.
Despite the historic nature of the award package, many households in need of housing that they can afford will not benefit from this round of funding. So it seems reasonable to ask: what might the award package have looked like if Congress found a way to fund the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF)?
The 2014 legislative session might be well behind us. But this year's short session brought huge achievements for housing, and we wanted to provide a recap. The most notable accomplishment of the session was hard to miss: passage of a full $100 million in bonds for affordable housing in the Capitol Investment Bill. The Legislature also approved several other bills in 2014 to address pressing housing issues in the state, such as a workforce housing in Greater Minnesota, disparities in homeownership between households of color and white households, and others.
**Update 12pm May 16: The bonding bill was passed by the Senate this morning and is headed to Governor Dayton for his signature.**
Days before the end of legislative session, $100 million in bonding for housing is poised for final passage.
Early in the morning on May 16, the House passed a compromise bonding bill off the floor, which includes a record $100 million in bonds for housing. Because a three-fifths majority is required for bonding bills, the bill needed the support of at least eight Republicans to pass. In the end the bill passed 92 to 40.
This bill, which totals $846 million, will next head to the Senate floor, where passage is also expected. An additional $200 million cash bill was also passed by the House.