For several years, MHP has heard from community partners that the lack of available and affordable housing for workers in Greater Minnesota is an ongoing frustration which leaves renters competing for housing and constrains job growth. MHP believes that the Legislature has a role to play in addressing the near inability of the market to support development of workforce housing for lower and moderate income renters in Greater Minnesota.
At the Capitol this year, MHP worked with Homes for All to increase funds for housing across the spectrum of need. MHP and Homes for All asked legislators to budget an additional $39 million for housing development and supportive housing services to meet housing needs of the homeless to moderate-income workers. Ultimately, Homes for All met with success again this year in securing an additional $25.5 million in funding. Funding included $15.5 million in budget appropriations for housing and human services programs plus $10 million in bonds for housing, which was a welcome outcome of end of session leadership negotiations. Ultimately, Minnesota Housing and DHS will benefit from $36.5 million more in 2016-17 than in 2014-15 for these selected programs.*
In the final days of the 2015 legislative session, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency’s budget faced uncertainty. Lawmakers released the Jobs/Energy bill, in which Minnesota Housing’s budget is included, with less than an hour before the Legislature’s adjournment deadline of midnight on May 18. The House took up this “lights on” bill in the final minute of session.
Side-by-side budget comparisonHousing and services bills have been moving rapidly through the House and Senate, as both bodies position themselves for end-of-session negotiations. It may come as no surprise that the House, Senate, and Governor's versions of the budget differ from each other when it comes to Minnesota Housing funding and homelessness services. A side-by-side budget comparison table and analysis follow with special focus on the $39 million increase sought in the Homes for All agenda for 2016-17 and on programs for housing for workers. It's an important time to reach out to legislators, as negotiations will be underway in the coming weeks.