By Cassie Paulsen
Twin Cities Habitat Staff
Last week, Becky shared the history of the Homes for All alliance and Habitat Housing Heroes’ role in advocating for affordable housing across the continuum of housing - everything from homeless shelters to supportive services to homeownership. Twin Cities Habitat is excited to again announce its partnership with the Homes for All alliance and our 2016 bonding request: $130 million investment in affordable housing for Minnesotans!
We know that a stable, affordable home is the foundation for success for Minnesotan families. However, housing shortages and rising rent costs are affecting communities across the state. About 1 in 8 Minnesotan households pay half or more of their income towards housing, and despite the progress we have made in addressing homelessness, the majority of Minnesotans experiencing homelessness are children and their parents. Over 11,600 public school students were identified as experiencing homeless at some time during the 2014-15 school year. Earlier this month, Rebecca shared the stories of community members experiencing homelessness that we have lost in the last year.
The $130 million investment will be used to address some of these issues and:
- Develop affordable homeownership opportunities through land trusts
- Preserve rental housing for low-income individuals, families with children, and seniors living in federally subsidized units
- Build and preserve supportive housing for Minnesotans experiencing homelessness
- Rehabilitate public housing to preserve federally subsidized units
Homes for All is also excited to announce a policy request to add a new use for Housing Infrastructure bonds: affordable senior-only housing! Not only are seniors the fastest growing population of Minnesotans, but they are also the fastest growing population experiencing homelessness. Seniors are disproportionately burdened by housing costs – about 1 in 3 households in Minnesota age 65+ pay 30% or more of their income towards housing. Making senior-only housing an eligible use for housing bonds helps solve this problem and allows affordable housing developers to continue building affordable places for Minnesota seniors to live.
What can you do to engage your legislator in support of affordable housing this session? Join us for our annual Habitat off the Hill event, hosted at the Twin Cities Habitat office! We will have lots of opportunities for to engage directly with legislators, learn the specifics about what is going on at the Capitol, advocate for safe, affordable housing for all Minnesotans, and family-friendly fun! Register now to join us on Wednesday, April 27 at 6pm.
We would also love to set up a meeting with you and your legislator so you can talk about why you believe housing should be a priority as decisions are being made that will impact your community. Don’t worry, Rebecca will go with and make sure you have the information you need to make it easy and impactful. Please email or call Cassie (612-305-7136) to learn more and set up your appointment!