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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL)

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Housing Omnibus Bill Approved by Minnesota House

Thursday, June 24, 2021

St. Paul, MN – Today, the Minnesota House approved the Housing Finance and Policy budget on a vote of 72-59. The measure funds a variety of programs aimed at helping create more affordable housing, and provisions to ensure Minnesotans are safely and stably housed.

“Nothing goes right in life without a safe place to call home. The housing need is great throughout the state and this measure helps address this persistent problem in every community,” said Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-Saint Paul), chair of the Minnesota House Housing Finance and Policy Committee. “The housing budget invests in closing the home ownership racial disparity and results in more stability for renters and landlords. It doesn’t solve all the vexing issues associated with housing insecurity, but as we emerge from COVID-19, this bill will help many Minnesotans recover.”

A notable inclusion in the budget bill is the orderly off-ramp to the current eviction moratorium. Championed by DFLers, the bill provides renters and landlords with the time to take advantage of federal housing assistance funds, with the off-ramp concluding 105 days after enactment. Landlords will be required to send a notice to renters with outstanding rent 15 days prior to eviction. In addition, renters with an outstanding rental assistance claim cannot be evicted and will have that protection until June 1, 2022.

“Access to affordable, safe, and secure housing is critical for the health and wellbeing of our families and our communities,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “Minnesota is facing a housing crisis that has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our budget includes a responsible off-ramp for the eviction moratorium and takes steps to create more affordable housing opportunities, get more Minnesotans into homeownership, provide support and stability for those at risk, and address our inexcusable racial disparities.”

The bill also provides Minnesota Housing with $10 million in one-time funds for FY22-23, along with $12 million in the tails to cover the debt service for $100 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds (HIBs).

“Thanks to President Biden and Democrats in Congress, Minnesota has the resources to prevent a catastrophic wave of evictions this year,” said Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “Everyone needs a home and affording a decent place to live is getting harder and harder in Minnesota. House Democrats will continue pushing for an ongoing commitment to affordable housing because one-time funding is not a strategy for providing safe, affordable housing that is accessible for all.”

“Minnesota faced a housing crisis well before COVID-19, and it's our duty to make sure we don't replace a health crisis with an eviction crisis," said Rep. Michael Howard (DFL – Richfield) vice chair of the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee. "As we bounce back from the pandemic, our compromise housing budget strives to provide Minnesotans with access to a safe and secure place to call home, and a basis for our continued efforts to create a future where housing is affordable for all Minnesotans." 

Other provisions of the bill:

  • Authorizes $100 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds, contingent on there being no funding in an upcoming federal infrastructure bill for the same purposes.
  • Funds the Manufactured Home Park Infrastructure Grant Program to address the needs of manufactured home parks whose infrastructure has reached the end of its expected lifespan by providing funds for improvements in eligible permanent year-round parks.
  • Establishes a 24-member shelter provider task force consisting of members from state agencies and advocates to make recommendations to the legislature regarding how to strengthen the shelter system to provide safe and appropriate services.

Video of the House Floor session will be available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel.