One of the common issues facing communities throughout Minnesota is a shortage of decent, affordable housing. Cities throughout the region including Bemidji, Baudette, Mahnomen and Park Rapids are searching for ways to increase their housing supply.
The shortage of housing is felt by many people, but disproportionately affects lower income households who often pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. These cost-burdened households have limited resources available to pay for other essential expenses including health care, transportation, child care and groceries.
It is clear that the housing shortage adversely affects lower-income households. Perhaps less clear is that entire communities are negatively affected, as job growth can be stymied when employers are unable to attract workers because suitable housing is not readily available.
One possible response to this pressing issue is to create and utilize a local housing trust fund.
A housing trust fund may be established by local governments to set aside public resources dedicated to meeting locally defined housing needs. We have an opportunity during the 2020 Legislative session for the state to support local communities, with a state match for local housing trust funds (H.F. 1402 / S.F. 1961).
A state match program will help incentivize communities to create local housing trust funds and leverage greater investments with local dollars. The trust fund provides the flexibility needed to meet locally defined needs in communities large and small.
Please contact your legislators and ask them to support local communities with the state match for housing trust funds this session!