Statement: MN ERASE continues to urge support for Emergency Rental Assistance

The Governor’s supplemental budget, released in January, provided strong investments for housing across the continuum. Shortly following the budget release, Minnesota Housing provided a three-day notice of the closure of the RentHelpMN program on January 28, a program that stabilized thousands of Minnesotans during the worst of the pandemic. RentHelpMN’s closure created a need for additional emergency rental assistance not addressed in the Governor’s Supplemental Budget. 

We are disappointed that the Governor’s revised supplemental budget does not include emergency rental assistance, which has proven to keep families stably housed and rent paid during the ongoing pandemic. The MN ERASE Campaign has urged the Governor and legislature to appropriate funds for emergency housing assistance since RentHelpMN’s closure, as thousands have been left without the emergency help needed for housing payments. HOME Line, a statewide tenant advocacy organization, has seen a 20% increase in calls regarding evictions, displacement, notices to vacate and financial aid since RentHelpMN’s closure, and a 34% increase in eviction filings just in the past two weeks. Emergency housing assistance remains a critical means to support households that continue to be affected by pandemic-related health and economic conditions, particularly Black, Indigenous and people of color and low-income households. 

Housing has been an issue of bipartisan agreement for many years in Minnesota. We urge the Governor and legislature to prioritize emergency rental assistance with other housing investments this session, an investment that will benefit Minnesota families across the state. The Minnesota ERASE Campaign (End Rental Arrears and Stop Evictions) is an effort to ensure that the historic aid enacted by Congress reaches the lowest-income and most marginalized renters it is intended to help. Co-conveners of the campaign include ACER (African Career Education Resource); Housing Justice Center, and MHP (Minnesota Housing Partnership). 

African Career Education & Resources, Inc (ACER) is an issue-based African organization working to end disparities within the African immigrant and African heritage community in Minnesota. For over 13 years, ACER has led in advancing equity in our community through organizing, education and advocating for policies that will result in equitable outcomes in our communities. ACER serves as a Field Partner of the RENTHelpMN program to expand access through outreach and navigation support to the most impacted community members in need of rental assistance. 

Housing Justice Center (HJC) is a nonprofit public interest advocacy and legal organization, founded in 1999 as the Housing Preservation Project, whose primary mission is to preserve and expand affordable housing for low-income individuals and families. HJC attorneys work with tenant and advocacy organizations, public and private housing funders, owners, developers, and policy makers in their efforts to protect and expand affordable housing. Based in Minnesota, HJC works nationwide. 

Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) expands housing and community development opportunity for those most impacted by economic and racial disparities by leading collaborative work to promote systems change and grow equitable development capacity. For more than 30 years, MHP has accomplished this mission by producing data-informed research, advocating for equitable housing policy, and providing community development services across the US. 

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