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The House Committee on Housing Policy and Finance met for the first time earlier this week. Committee members heard an overview of programs and outcomes from Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, a report on the Minnesota Task Force on Housing goals, and the Prosperity’s Front Door campaign to create and motivate a cross-sector network to secure Minnesota’s housing future. 

Photo: Acooa Ellis (left) and Jeanne Crain, co-chairs of the Minnesota Task Force on Housing. Photo by Andrew VonBank of Session Daily.

With more than 550,000 Minnesota households paying more than they can afford for rent and a dramatic gap between the current and needed production of housing, Minnesota Housing Assistant Commissioner Ryan Baumtrog and Minnesota Housing Legislative Director Dan Kitzberger emphasized that the question is not whether to invest but how much, stressing that for every project Minnesota Housing funds, three shovel-ready projects go unfunded. And, as more Minnesotans live paycheck-to-paycheck due to rising costs and stagnating wages, more households are one emergency away from needing some form of one-time assistance to pay the rent or mortgage, making strong investments in Minnesota Housing programs essential for a thriving state.

Minnesota Task Force on Housing Chairs Acooa Ellis (Senior Vice President, Community Impact, Greater Twin Cities United Way) and Jeanne Crain (CEO, Bremer Financial Corp.) added that the availability of affordable housing impacts the viability of private sector businesses – and that public-private partnerships must play an important role in creating housing opportunities. Greater Minnesota Housing Fund CEO Warren Hanson and Family Housing Fund Executive Director Ellen Sahli presented on an effort underway to forge and grow those partnerships. A network of civic, business, and political leaders, Prosperity’s Front Door emphasizes the link between economic vitality and housing, highlighting that affordable housing impacts Minnesota’s competitive advantage. 

Read more about the hearing from Session Daily. 

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