Affordable Housing Legislation in Conference Committee
Minnesota continues to be in crisis with regard to the availability of affordable housing. This crisis that was very serious before the pandemic has only gotten significantly worse. While most of these households have jobs (sometimes 2-4 jobs), they spend disproportionate amounts of their income on housing. Those that have lost housing due to high rents (or mortgages) often find it very difficult to juggle jobs, family, shelter-life/homelessness, and other responsibilities, causing a cycle whereby it is difficult to keep steady work without stable housing, and vice versa.
Bills have passed in both the Minnesota House and Senate. However, the Housing sections of larger bills differ significantly, and negotiations are happening right now to determine what will be in the final bill. We need to emphasize that the programs work but the funds allocated are consistently less than the need.
Who are my legislators in St. Paul & what is their contact information?
https://www.gis.lcc.mn.gov/iMaps/districts/ (Call or email with your message)
What should I say?
1) Introduce Yourself:
Name; Where You Live and/or Where You Go to Church (Be sure the legislators you contact correlate with the place you mention. Your church may be in a different district than your home)
Contact Information - Let your legislator(s) know how to reach you (address and/or email/phone)
I'm Lutheran / I'm an advocate with Lutheran Advocacy-MN
2) Main Message: Tell your senator (& representative) to urge their leaders and those who are part of the Conference Committee negotiations for housing to make sure that the following provisions are included in the final bill. Especially emphasize Emergency COVID Rental Assistance & Bonding to increase supply. (Use your own words).
· Housing Infrastructure Bonds ($400 million) which along with some key policy changes will help build more rental and homeownership opportunities for people with the lowest incomes;
· Government Obligation Bonds ($100 million) for Public Housing rehabilitation
· Emergency COVID Rental Assistance to continue the RentHelpMN program which was closed abruptly in January due to insufficient funding (evictions are up 65% since it closed)
· A Community Stabilization Program with funding for Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) which will help preserve the homes we have;
· Lead Safe Homes funding to keep people, especially children, safe from lead poisoning;
· Renter Protections, including adequate notice before eviction, prohibiting discrimination against people using housing vouchers, showing no eviction action on their permanent record IF the court rules in their favor, & allowing renters to break a lease in the case of serious health issues or new disability.
3) Share why you care: These programs are important because… [Faith language can be very appropriate]