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House Capital Investment Committee hears series of bills investing in affordable housing for Minnesotans

Thursday, March 11, 2021

St. Paul, MN - Building on their previous hearing on the state of Minnesota’s housing crisis from earlier this session, today the House Capital Investment Committee heard informational testimony on a series of bills focused on investing in affordable housing for Minnesotans. 

“Minnesota was facing a housing crisis long before COVID, but this pandemic has laid bare the public health risks and inequities in being unable to have an affordable place to call home,” said Rep. Fue Lee (DFL - Minneapolis), chair of the committee. “The proposals we heard in committee today would be welcomed in the robust bonding bill that our state clearly needs. Investments in affordable housing are needed in every corner of our state, and now is the time to improve and add to our housing infrastructure.”

Every year, Minnesota is losing more affordable homes than we build. Factoring in rent inflation and stagnating wages, Minnesota lost an estimated 32,000 units of affordable housing from 2014 to 2018 in the Twin Cities metro alone. In Greater Minnesota, a typical new worker earns too much money to qualify for most income-based housing programs, but does not make enough to afford to build a new home in a community that does not have any available housing.

“Under normal circumstances, affordable housing is in short supply. The pandemic has exacerbated desperate circumstances for thousands of Minnesotans,” said Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL - St. Paul), chair of the Minnesota House Housing Finance and Policy Committee. “These measures address the need now, and in the future, to give housing-insecure Minnesotans the stability they need to succeed and thrive.”

The housing crisis impacts Minnesotans across the state, but it’s unproportionally impacting Black, Indigenous, and communities of color. Right now, 61,000 families of color across Minnesota who have the income to afford homeownership, struggle to find a home to buy. By continuing to rent, they live in units that could otherwise be home to families with lower incomes. 

Additional information, including supporting materials and presentation slides from testifiers, is available on the House Capital Investment Committee’s webpage. Video recording of today’s hearing is available on the House Public Information YouTube channel