ST. PAUL, Minn. – Aging loved ones recovering from surgery or an illness may soon have a new housing option for them to heal in. A new bill chief authored by Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin), defines temporary health care dwellings and provides a process for permitting the facilities by counties and cities. Sen. Hoffman says as Minnesota’s aging population increases – the need for more of these temporary dwellings will soon be on the rise.
“Having the ability to care for your loved ones at a temporary health care dwelling located right next to your own home is going to significantly lower costs – and is going to help your loved ones heal in a more personal and home-like setting. Depending on nursing home care or other costly health care options should only be used when absolutely necessary. It’s important to start thinking about innovative ideas like this as our aging population accelerates,” said Hoffman.
During the bill hearing this week, a testifier named Anita Burke from the metro area shared a story about her 80-year-old mother who has failing health and is currently living in an assisted living facility. The rent for her mother’s studio apartment is $3,170 per month and care services have run an additional $5,000 a month since December. Within a few months her mother’s funds are expected to run out. Burke said a temporary health care dwelling would be the perfect solution to her ailing mother’s financial woes. She also said her situation is not unique, and passing this bill would allow families to care for one another and would lessen the financial burden on taxpayers.
Under the terms of the bill the dwellings must be primarily assembled off site, be no more than 300 gross square feet, be connected to water and electric utilities, and be limited to one family member who is recovering from an injury or surgery. People who apply for a temporary health care dwelling must obtain a six-month permit from the county or city to build a unit and may renew the permit once for an additional six months.