Gov. Walz proposes $276 million in affordable housing bonding

Today, Gov. Walz released his administration’s housing bonding request which totals $276 million. 

 “Our state faces a significant shortfall of homes for those with the greatest need. This includes low-income renters who are caring for our elders, who prepare our food, and who teach our children,” said Anne Mavity, Minnesota Housing Partnership’s executive director. “This bonding request would get our state closer to a safe, affordable home for every Minnesotan.”

Walz made the announcement at Minnehaha Commons in South Minneapolis. 

“We’re working to make sure all Minnesotans can afford to live in the communities they call home,” Walz said. “Whether it’s proximity to work, school, or loved ones, too often Minnesotans can’t find affordable housing near the things that matter most.”

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan added, “We are here to talk about affordable housing. But really, we are here to talk about something very personal. Home. “

“Every Minnesotan deserves a safe and affordable place to call home.”

Recent events have highlighted the need for safe, affordable homes. Five people lost their lives and hundreds have been displaced from the tragic fires at the Drake Hotel on Christmas and the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority’s Cedar High apartments.  

“These devastating events are stark reminders that, as a state, we have a lot of work to do to ensure that every Minnesotan benefits from the stability and safety of an affordable and healthy home,” Elizabeth Glidden, MHP’s Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives. “The people displaced should be the foremost concern of every lawmaker as they consider this bonding proposal.”

The need for affordable housing investment is evident across the state. According to MHP’s State of the State’s Housing, in the Northwest region, the percentage of cost-burdened renters grew from 33 percent in 2000 to 41 percent in 2017. Yet, in 2017, only 238 new multi-family units were permitted for construction. Seven of the 12 counties in the Northwest region saw no new development of multi-family units. 

In the Twin Cities, affordable rental units are hard to come by, according to MHP’s Market Watch: Hennepin County. Since 2010, average rent rose 20 percent in Hennepin County. At the same time, the vacancy rate in the county fell from 6.2% to 4.4%. With rent rising and fewer units available, those at the lowest incomes have few options, and with just 2.8% of all affordable rental units produced for households earning under 30% of area median income, production is lagging seriously behind the need.

“This bonding package is a historic, critical investment and represents a bold step toward securing direly needed funding for housing,” said Anne Mavity, executive director of Minnesota Housing Partnership. “It’s a recognition of the affordable housing shortfall Minnesota faces and gets us closer to ensuring every Minnesotan has a safe, affordable home. I appreciate the leadership of Gov. Walz in bringing this investment to housing affordability and making it a priority. This is a great start in tackling an issue that is impacting every Minnesotan.”