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Lawmakers pitch $1 billion housing subsidy for 500,000 Minnesotans

Officials said the program would end homelessness in Minnesota.

Lawmakers and faith leaders gathered Tuesday to announce an ambitious subsidy proposal they say would end homelessness in the state and provide housing stability to more than half a million Minnesotans.

Alongside Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, and Rep. Mike Howard, DFL-Richfield, announced plans to introduce legislation ahead of the upcoming session.

Called “Bring it Home, Minnesota” the proposal would fill the gap between Minnesotans that qualify for federal housing vouchers and those that receive them.

The lawmakers unveiled the proposal outside of the Francis Drake Hotel, where a fire recently displaced the building’s homeless residents.

“Whether we are striving to eliminate our opportunity gap, create thriving communities or reduce racial disparities, all roads lead to home,” Howard said in a statement.

According to a 2019 report from the Minnesota Housing Partnership, more than one in four households in the state are cost-burdened by housing, meaning they’re forced to cut back on other necessities to afford housing. 

But the legislation may be a tough sell at the Capitol. The Star Tribune reports such a program may cost $1 billion per year.

While November’s forecast did estimate the state has a $1.3 billion surplus, this legislative session is not a budget year. Gov. Tim Walz’s proposed capital bonding bill does allocate money for other affordable housing projects. 

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