St. Paul, MN – Today, the Minnesota House approved the Omnibus Housing Bill, which funds a variety of programs aimed at helping create more affordable housing, and provisions to ensure Minnesotans are safely and stably housed. The bill passed on a vote of 69-62.
“Housing insecurity negatively impacts economic security, health outcomes and educational achievement. This proposal addresses the persistent and long-term needs in every corner of Minnesota,” said Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-Saint Paul), Housing Finance and Policy chair. “All session, we heard personal testimony and those stories made an impression on every committee member. Advocates helped us craft a bill which will have meaningful impact across the state, to help ensure everyone has a safe place to call home.”
More than 572,000 Minnesotan households pay more than they can afford for housing, more than 1 in every 4 households in the state. On any given night, over 10,000 Minnesotans experience homelessness, a number that has only grown since 2015, and greatly impacts Black, Indigenous, and Minnesotans of color. All of these are numbers that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 takes significant 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.”
“Time and again, we’ve seen Republican politicians pursue policies that would kick Minnesotans out of their homes and apartments to the streets during a global pandemic,” said Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “The last thing Minnesotans need is being rocked by a housing crisis on par with the 2008 economic collapse. Minnesota has the resources to provide safe, affordable housing for everyone, but we’ll never meet that goal if Republican politicians keep putting the rich and well-connected ahead of renters and homeowners.”
Provisions of the bill include:
- Funding for the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) for specific programs.
- Establishes the lead safe homes grant program and a task force on shelter resident rights and shelter provider practices and contains amendments to other various programs administered by MHFA.
- Funding for various programs related to affordable housing.
- Provisions related to the Minnesota Bond Allocation Act, residential rental housing/ landlord and tenant law and manufactured housing.
“Minnesota faced a housing crisis – and that was before a global pandemic illustrated just how vital a safe home is to our health, happiness and economic security,” said Rep. Michael Howard (DFL – Richfield) vice chair of the Housing Finance and Policy Committee. “There is no place like home, yet in Minnesota an affordable place to live is out of reach for hundreds of thousands of families. We are working to create a Minnesota where everyone can afford the roof over their head and this bill takes important steps to build that future.”
A spreadsheet of the investment made in the Omnibus Housing Bill can be found here. A video recording of today’s floor debate is available on the House Public Information YouTube channel.