Minnesota Democrats unveil $3 billion housing plan

Rep. Mike Howard (DFL-Lakeville) speaks about the package aimed to address housing in Minnesota | Photo Credit: The Reformer

At a press conference this week, DFL members of the legislature introduced what they are calling a “transformational” and “bold” approach to solving the state’s housing crisis.

Members from both the Senate and House unveiled “All Roads Lead Back to Home“, a proposal to spend $3 billion on new programs and funding to address child homelessness, the equity gap in homeownership and the production of more affordably priced units.

“Our state government simply has not made housing a priority. If our entire state general fund budget was a gallon jug of water, we would spend less than a tablespoon on housing. That’s simply not going to cut it,” said Rep. Mike Howard, DFL-Richfield. “It’s time that we stop admiring the crisis before us and start proposing bold, visionary solutions that will actually meet the challenge that’s facing Minnesotans.” 

Their proposal includes:

  • $1 billion in annual spending focused on addressing the state’s housing shortage
  • $1 billion is one-time emergency funding aimed at fighting homelessness
  • $1 billion in bonds to build and preserve affordable housing in throughout the state

This package also includes language to establish Minnesota’s first-ever state rental assistance voucher program. Additionally, $175 million would be put towards down payment assistance to aid first-time homebuyers.

Housing First Minnesota responded to this proposal and cited concerns towards the lack of focus on the Minnesota’s ongoing housing supply issues and the construction of new starter homes in the state.

“A housing plan that does not consider lifting roadblocks to building more new starter homes is woefully incomplete,” said James Vagle, CEO of Housing First Minnesota. “Especially given that an affordable first home is widely understood to be one of the most critical contributors to an accessible housing market and generational wealth creation.”