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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Aisha Gomez (DFL)

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House Preventing Homelessness Division Passes Comprehensive Funding Bill

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Saint Paul, MN – Today, the House Preventing Homelessness Division approved a comprehensive funding bill with historic investments to help Minnesotans facing housing insecurity or experiencing homelessness. The proposal includes a total of $145,950,000 in FY 22-23 toward important programs and services, including the Homeless Youth Act, emergency service grants, safe harbor grants, emergency shelters, funds for Hennepin and Ramsey County services, and more.

“Over the past two sessions, this division has been intentional in centering the voices of Minnesotans who are currently experiencing homelessness or who have experienced homelessness. Their expertise has repeatedly shed light on our flawed system that consistently underinvests in services for homeless Minnesotans, which makes sure that our crisis never comes to an end,” said Chair Aisha Gomez (DFL - Minneapolis). “This comprehensive bill reflects the base investment we need to protect our unhoused neighbors while we help them find a permanent housing option. This is a truly historic investment which will set us on a path towards long-term solutions which are humane, compassionate, and effective.”

“We’ve left too many neighbors out in the cold,” said Vice Chair Heather Keeler. “It’s unconscionable that we allow homelessness services to go chronically underfunded, especially when we’re staring at a $9.2 billion surplus. We need to get our relatives, neighbors, and all Minnesotans out of the cold and into shelter while also providing the resources they need to easily get back on their feet. I’m honored to work with Chair Gomez and members of the division this year to pass historic investment to curb the homelessness crisis. This will make life safer and simpler for those struggling in future generations.”

The bill also includes provisions requiring the Commissioner of Human Services to study the prevalence of pregnancy and parenting among homeless youths and youths at risk of homelessness, and to perform a prevalence study on survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking. The division heard repeated testimony emphasizing the need for improved youth services and services for victims of sex trafficking and exploitation. This is targeted by the Safe Harbor grants and the Homeless Youth Act. Safe Harbor provides legal protection and services for sexually trafficked or exploited youth, and the HYA focuses efforts on creating stability for homeless youth to prevent long-term homelessness and the ensuing trauma and poverty. The exact distribution of the historic funding is as follows:

  • In the fiscal year 2022:
    • $8,000,000 to Ramsey Heading Home Continuum of Care for shelter facilities and programming
    • $6,000,000 to Hennepin County for shelter facilities and programming.
  • In the fiscal year 2023:
    • $75,000,000 for emergency shelter facilities
    • $35,000,000 for emergency services grants
    • $10,000,000 for homeless youth act grants
    • $5,500,000 for safe harbor grants
    • $2,500,000 for transitional housing
    • $1,650,000 for shelter-linked youth mental health grants
    • $300,000 for a prevalence study of pregnancy and parenting among homeless youths and youths at risk of homelessness.
    • $1,000,000 for safe harbor grants to fund supportive services
    • $700,000 for safe harbor regional navigators
    • $300,000 to fund a prevalence study on victim survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking
  • $25 million in permanent, ongoing investments in emergency services grants in fiscal years 2024 and 2025.

Documents and other information from the hearing are available on the division webpage. Livestream video of the hearing will be available from House Public Information Services.The bill passed and was referred to the Human Services Committee.