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Follow MHP Connect for a variety of coverage on housing and community development news in Minnesota and across the nation.

Featured resources for the month look at housing instability: who's moving; and how are housing stability and instability connected to health and eduation. The summaries below help you keep up with the research and resources available despite busy schedules. And while we're at it, it's good to know about resources for speaking to your members of Congress.

MHP's newest quarterly 2x4 Report points to likely rent increases, with plunging rental vacancy rates in the Twin Cities. Rental demand is up, while 2006-2010 also saw the lowest multi-family housing construction in 50 years. Meanwhile, high homelessness persisted in the first quarter of 2011.

A month ago the Washington Post published a series of stories about flaws in HUD's HOME program. This was a real gotcha investigation with the Post front page article using inflammatory language (e.g., HUD "squandered hundreds of millions of dollars" and experienced "widespread misspending and delays... with breakdowns at every level"). Turns out the 20 year old program didn't warrant all the fuss.

Normally the May meeting of odd number years is one in which the Minnesota Housing Commissioner announces to the board the level and purpose of legislative appropriations awarded the Agency. Not this year, while the political process grinds forward, the board’s focus was on maintaining efforts and disaster response. As of the day of the board meeting, the Commissioner did not even know whether her staff would be working after June 30.