Many readers may be aware that the October Minnesota Housing Finance Agency board meeting is typically when most of the state’s multi- and single-family housing development awards are made. This year, the board endorsed a historic $162 million in awards. At the meeting, the board was also briefed on: state funding for 2015; updates to the homeless information management system; and national awards made to the Agency.
Historic investments made
In her introductory remarks, Commissioner Tingerthal said that the Agency was poised to make a historic set of investments, with the board’s approval. The proposed RFP awards that the board was to consider would trigger a total one-half billion dollar investment in affordable housing, an amount without precedent in Minnesota.
Before approval of the multi-family and single-family annual funding awards, staff described trends in funding requests[LR1] . For single-family they were seeing more new construction proposals in Greater Minnesota, and acquisition-rehab efforts in the Twin Cities. For multi-family, staff pointed to funding to workforce-related proposals, developments along transit corridors, and funding to preserve senior housing. These were in addition to the projects funded to address the standing priorities of housing homeless people or foreclosure recovery. In approving the recommendations, board members wanted to make sure that staff would be meeting with the applicants whose projects were not funded. Tingerthal responded that these meetings would be scheduled so staff could discuss reasons why projects were not selected, and what the applicants could do to improve selection chances for the future.
State funding for 2015
Looking to 2015, Commissioner Tingerthal said that she would be having post-elections discussions with the governor's office about the Agency's budget, with meetings scheduled November 7th and 10th. This year Governor Dayton is promoting multi-agency initiatives, such as preventing and ending homelessness.
Updating the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)
The board was asked to react to alternative approaches to revamping the Homeless Management Information System, the reporting system connected with the delivery of federal funds to assist homeless people. Homeless service providers and state agencies plan to update the current system, in operation since 2002, to be able to provide reports of greater value in adjusting delivery of services. The board endorsed a proposal to have Minnesota Housing run the revamped program, guided by a taskforce of stakeholders.
Tingerthal reported that Minnesota Housing received three national-best awards at the recent conference of the National Council of State Housing Agencies. These were awarded for the Agency’s work in serving emerging markets, encouraging lenders to offer Agency loans, and reducing loan losses.