New York City and Minneapolis are both electing new mayors next month, along with many other cities across the U.S. How important is affordable housing to these candidates, and what programs do housing experts recommend that mayoral candidates consider? The New York Times put a spotlight on these questions with the publication of "Housing That's Not a Luxury", a debate in its opinion pages on October 17.
Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison was one of the contributors, with an article focused on funding the National Housing Trust Fund. Seven other experts weighed in with articles as well, including housing officials, an economist, nonprofit directors, and a real estate professional. Click here to link to the full feature in the New York Times.
MHP is leading the recruitment of endorsers who support funding the National Housing Trust Fund, through the United for Homes campaign. There has been a persistent climb in demand for affordable housing in Minnesota, coupled with a persistent decline in supply. Ellison described the dire situation in specific terms: 10,000 Minneapolis families are on the waiting list for affordable rental housing. Additionally, 64% of Minnesota's extremely low income population pays more than half of their income for housing, putting them at risk of becoming homeless.
Ellison proposes funding the National Housing Trust Fund to "provide communities with money to build, preserve, and rehabilitate rental homes that are affordable to families with incomes below about 30 percent of area median income – about $24,000 in Minneapolis". Demonstrating his leadership in this arena, Ellison introduced the Common Sense Housing Investment Act (H.R. 1213) this year, which would finance the National Housing Trust Fund, along with expanding the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Section 8 vouchers and the Public Housing Capital Fund.
The bill proposes replacing the current mortgage interest deduction with a 15 percent flat-rate tax credit on mortgage interest, and lowering the cap on the mortgage interest deduction from $1.1 million to $500,000. The savings generated would significantly expand the supply of affordable apartments though this simple, fair reform of the mortgage interest deduction.
Many Minneapolis mayoral candidates have weighed in on affordable housing at two recent forums – at the Salvation Army's Harbor Light Shelter forum on August 28 (recap here) and the Housing and Community Development forum on October 1 at Central Lutheran Church (recap here). Next week, MHP and Minneapolis Highrise Representative Council are co-sponsoring a mayoral forum focused on public housing, Thursday 10/24 from 10-12 pm at 314 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis (details here). Eight mayoral candidates have confirmed. Please attend, and ask the candidates to endorse United for Homes and H.R. 1213 to expand resources for affordable housing!
To learn more about United for Homes and H.R. 1213, and to endorse the campaign on behalf of your organization, click here.