At the state and federal levels, there's been no shortage of activity around affordable housing this summer. Read on for policy updates from MHP. Subscribe here to get Capitol Connect and other MHP publications delivered directly to your inbox.
Join MHP for a stakeholder comment call on the 2019 Draft Affordable Housing Plan!
Governor’s Task Force on Housing Releases Final Report
On Tuesday, August 21 The Governor’s Task Force on Housing released 30 recommendations to improve access to quality, affordable housing in their final report, “More Places to Call Home: Investing in Minnesota’s Future.” The report is a culmination of 8 months of work by 15 core members and 13 ex-officio members, regional forums held across the state, and input from a range of housing stakeholders.
Minnesota Housing Partnership and Homes for All MN engage candidates on housing issues through questionnaire
Affordable housing is a critical issue impacting Minnesotans statewide. That’s why Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) and Homes for All MN are distributing a candidate questionnaire covering a range of key issues – from housing for seniors and workers, to racial disparities in housing – to candidates for Minnesota House of Representatives seats. MHP is regularly posting candidate responses to our website. Have candidates in your district responded yet? Read the questionnaire and candidate responses, and learn how you can encourage your candidates to participate here.
Register now! Homes for All MN Gubernatorial Forum September 12
On September 12, join Homes for All in Duluth for an opportunity to engage with Minnesota's Gubernatorial candidates! The forum, "Foundation for our Future: Housing as an Economic Driver," will be an opportunity to ask questions of the candidates and hear about their vision for affordable housing in Minnesota. Register in advance to submit a question!
MHP hosts Opportunity Zones 101
On August 22, MHP hosted “Opportunity Zones 101” with special guests Emily Larson (Mayor, City of Duluth), Amy McCulloch (Deputy Director, Twin Cities LISC), Pam Kramer (Executive Director, Duluth LISC), and Ryan Baumtrog (Assistant Commissioner, Minnesota Housing). With more than 100 registrants for the call, speakers explored how opportunity zones can be a useful investment tool for Minnesota communities. Listen to a recording of the call here! More resources and follow-up information coming soon!
MHP submits comment urging HUD to retain disparate impact Fair Housing rule
On August 20, MHP submitted a comment urging the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to continue robust enforcement of the disparate impact rule, an important mechanism to ensure the Fair Housing Act, which protects people of color, low-income people, disabled people and others from discriminatory housing practices, is fully enforced. The disparate impact rule explains that housing practices that have a discriminatory effect are prohibited under the Fair Housing Act, even if there may not be evidence of discriminatory intent. In Minnesota, where racial disparities in housing are among the worst in the United States, robust enforcement under this rule is key to furthering fair housing. Read more.
Transportation-HUD spending bill approved
On August 1, the Senate approved its FY19 Transportation-HUD (THUD) spending bill. The bill funds HUD programs $12 billion above the president’s FY19 request and over $1 billion more than the House bill. More details on the bill and the differences between the House and Senate bill can be found in NLIHC’s budget chart.
Renters’ tax credits proposed
Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) separately introduced bills that would create fully refundable tax credits for cost-burdened renters. Both bills address the gap between incomes and housing cost. For a comparison of the Rent Relief Act and the Housing, Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity (HOME) Act of 2018, check out the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s factsheet.
Proposal to expand New Markets Tax Credit
In late July, Representatives Jason Smith and Terri Sewell introduced the Rural Jobs Zone Act of 2018. The bill could expand the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation for 2018 and 2019 by authorizing an additional $500 million in NMTC. Read Enterprise's blog to learn more.
Restoring Tax Credits for Affordable Housing Act introduced
Also in late July, a bill was introduced to increase the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) annual allocation and increase the percentage formula. According to the bill’s author, the bill would finance an additional 235,000 affordable housing units over the next decade, helping make up for losses due to tax reform. Read Representative Clyburn’s press release for more details.
Senators call for task force on the impact of the affordable housing crisis
Senators seek to establish a bipartisan task force to evaluate how the nation’s shortage of affordable housing impacts other, non-housing government programs and the quality of life of cost burdened and precariously housed households. Read more at Affordable Housing Finance.
Implementation of over-income rules for public housing
On July 26, HUD posted a notice in the Federal Register implementing over-income rules for public housing residents as required by the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA). HOTMA established that households earning 120 percent of area median income (AMI) or more for two consecutive years would be considered over-income. Once families meet this threshold, public housing authorities (PHAs) can now either charge the higher of the fair market rent for the unit/monthly subsidy or terminate the tenancy within six months.
HUD announces new landlord engagement campaign
August 20, HUD announced the creation of a new landlord task force with the goal of increasing landlord participation in the Housing Choice Voucher Program.