Why Bond For Housing?
The ‘Homes for All’ Alliance presented the Minnesota Housing Partnership- Minnesota 2020 report at a press conference at the Capitol on Wednesday where they discussed their findings of homeless in Minnesota and what the legislature can do to help. Speakers at the event included the superintendents of both Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools. The superintendents talked about the nearly 4,000 children under the age of 18 who are homeless, and how that significantly impacts children’s learning abilities and stunts their education.
Currently in Minnesota there are 14,000 people who are homeless, and nearly half of those are under the age of 21. Homelessness is a direct result of a shortage of affordable housing. According to a wide coalition of housing advocates called the ‘Homes for All’ Alliance, while the state has seen a modest recovery for middle and upper-income homeowners since the bottom of the housing crisis, recovery for low-income earners isn’t happening. For this reason they are calling on the legislature to invest $100 million in housing bonds. Advocates say that $100 million would translate to around 5,000 housing units.
Addressing Minnesota’s housing shortage is a priority for the Minnesota legislature during the 2014 session. The Senate Capital Investment committee visited several housing authorities across the state during their fall and winter bonding tours. They also visited several homeless shelters and learned what works and what doesn’t when it comes to serving the homeless and getting people into permanent housing. Senator LeRoy Stumpf (DFL-Plummer) is Chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee and authored legislation this session to authorize up to $100 million in bonds for housing projects. These bonds would be issued by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency to help build affordable housing and solve housing shortages across the state.