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

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Minnesota House Approves Legislation to Reduce Housing Costs

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Saint Paul, MN – Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved legislation (70-62) to reduce housing costs throughout the state. With an unprecedented budget surplus, the legislation makes historic investments to ensure all Minnesotans have a safe and affordable place to call home.

“Affordable housing is a fundamental need, and our Housing budget makes wide-ranging investments throughout Minnesota,” said Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-Falcon Heights), chair of Minnesota House Housing Finance & Policy. “We have crafted transformational legislation to address the most persistent housing costs and help those in perilous housing situations achieve a safe place to live. This legislation will have impacts now and in the future.” 

“Access to safe and secure housing that people can afford is necessary for the health and wellbeing of families and communities," said Speaker Melissa Hortman. "It's critical that we take strong steps to reduce costs for families and create more housing options to improve economic security and opportunity. Throughout our budget, House DFLers are putting forward proposals to ensure all Minnesotans can have a place to call home.”

“Minnesota prevented an eviction crisis during the worst days of a global pandemic. Now, legislators have an opportunity to build on that achievement by reducing the cost of housing for renters and homeowners,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “Minnesotans work hard every day, but when hard work alone isn’t enough to pay the mortgage or rent, legislators have an obligation to step up and help, especially when there’s a historic budget surplus.”  

"Now is the time to capitalize on our historic surplus and make meaningful investments in housing for the tens of thousands of Minnesotans struggling to find or keep a stable place to call home. Whether it’s the renters who are falling behind or the Minnesotans seeking to purchase their first home, our bill is looking out for you," said Rep. Michael Howard (DFL-Richfield), vice-chair of the Housing Finance & Policy Committee. "Minnesota faced a housing crisis well before the pandemic, and with many facing worsened conditions, we can't afford to let an opportunity to invest in housing pass us by."

Investments contained in the legislation include:

  • $230 million new spending this year, $185 million ongoing
  • $100 million this year and $80 million ongoing to preserve Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing
  • $50 million for a pilot project with down payment assistance for first generation homebuyers
  • $2 million to establish the “Luke Shields Act” a lead safe homes grant program
  • Increases to Challenge, Homework Starts with Home, Family Homelessness Prevention Assistance Programs

Policy changes in the legislation include:

  • Tenant protection measures establishing a pre-eviction notice
  • Increase lease fairness by prohibiting corporate property management companies from hiding secret fees in their rental units
  • Prohibit evictions of tenants who have applied for rental assistance

Additional significant housing investments exist or are expected to be included in other areas of legislation being promoted by the House DFL.

Once the Senate approves their version of the bill, the two versions will be discussed in a conference committee, with a final version going to the governor for his signature. 

The Housing session can be viewed on the House of Representatives’ YouTube channel. Documents for the Housing Finance & Policy can be found on the committee website.