Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Howard (DFL)

Back to profile

Housing Committee holds hearing on proposals to address housing costs

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Saint Paul, MN – Today, several bills were heard in the Minnesota House Housing Finance & Policy committee, adding to the House DFL Economic Security Plan

Legislation authored by Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL-Minneapolis) allows for Housing Infrastructure Bonds (HIBs) to finance the costs of construction, acquisition, and rehabilitation of permanent housing to households with eligible incomes. This bill was approved unanimously. 

Another bill, also authored by Rep. Agbaje, appropriates $425,000 to establish a housing mediation grant program. Funds are provided to state-certified mediation facilities. Among other requirements, grants must be used to provide mediation services, increase awareness of access to mediation services?, expand eviction prevention services, partner with culturally specific dispute resolution programs to provide training and? assist in providing mediation services virtually and in-person? and increase mediation services for seniors and tenants with disabilities and illnesses?. The legislation was laid over for possible inclusion in the final bill.

 “The bills that I brought forward today in committee address the immense costs and challenges of renters in our state,” said Rep. Agbaje. “We know that housing stability has a dramatic impact on outcomes in all other areas of life. It’s past time that we work to protect renters.”

Housing Committee vice-chair, Rep. Michael Howard (DFL-Richfield), presented his legislation, to use Housing Infrastructure Bonds (HIBs) to finance the costs of acquisition, rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, or new construction of senior housing. The measure allows for up to 20% of the units to be used to house low-income individuals of any age, allowing senior housing developers to include units for other uses including those with disabilities. The legislation was laid over for possible inclusion in the final bill.

“Within our state’s housing crisis is an often-overlooked area of affordable, independent housing for those with disabilities,” said Rep. Howard. “It’s one of the most difficult forms of housing to find, and this legislation is a small bill making small changes that can have a huge impact on people’s lives.”

Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-Falcon Heights), chair of the committee, presented the Minnesota Housing policy and technical bill. The legislation was laid over for possible inclusion in the final bill.

“As the agency administers programs and works with partners, there are issues that arise from time to time,” said Rep. Hausman. “With historic levels of need and funding being deployed, it is important Minnesota Housing continues to make changes to improve access, to provide clarity to existing programs and expand program eligibility where they can.”

More information on today’s hearing can be found on the committee’s webpage. Video recording of the hearing will be available on the House Public Information YouTube channel