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Advocacy at CommonBond

What the 2023 Legislative Session Could Mean for Affordable Housing

The Minnesota legislature just completed an historic session where they made unprecedented and potentially transformative investments in affordable housing. This funding, plus tax breaks and policy changes, will enable CommonBond to develop and preserve additional affordable housing and help staff deliver important services to residents.

You may be wondering what this will mean for CommonBond, other affordable housing providers, and the folks we serve. We’ll break down a few of the big wins of this last legislative session that could have a big impact.

  • Housing Infrastructure Bonds - The Housing bill included $200 million in cash for Housing Infrastructure Bonds, a program that provides direct support to housing developers like CommonBond Communities to build more affordable housing. This represents a nearly 5x increase in housing investment. While this won’t eliminate the significant shortage of affordable homes for our low-income neighbors, it’s a significant step in the right direction.
  • $50 million in financial relief - In partnership with Aeon, Project for Pride in Living, and Catholic Charities, CommonBond was at the forefront of advocating for a $50 million financial support package for Minnesota’s nonprofit affordable housing providers, an acknowledgement of the substantial losses they incurred to keep residents stably housed during the pandemic.
  • Sprinkler upgrades - $10 million (with $4 million specifically set aside for Seward Towers) for sprinkler upgrades in affordable high-rises will help fund this critical and expensive safety measure in housing communities across the state.
  • 4d - The legislature reformed the 4d tax program, which reduced property taxes for affordable housing and will make it easier for CommonBond to provide high-quality affordable housing to our residents.
  • Emergency assistance - An additional $115 million to provide emergency assistance directly to low-income Minnesotans who have fallen behind on rent and could be at risk of homelessness.
  • .25% sales tax - And in the Metro, a .25% sales tax for housing means that cities and counties will have a dedicated resource to support affordable housing and homelessness programs. It will also go towards creating a rental assistance program.

CommonBond’s Advantage Services will also benefit from additional funding and modifications to certain programs.

  • The Youth Intervention Program, which provides free training to our staff and volunteers, saw its annual funding doubled.
  • Housing Support Income Modification for Community-Based Settings will make Housing Supports, which is an important program for many of our formerly homeless residents, work better for CommonBond and our tenants by allowing them to keep more of their income.

This wouldn’t have happened without the advocacy of CommonBond community members who called, emailed, and met their legislators; showed up for rallies at the Capitol; signed on to letters; and testified in front of legislative committees. Now the real work begins to make sure that we can maximize the benefits of this investment.

While we are grateful and excited about this historic session, we know our work isn’t finished yet. It will take continued investment from all of us – community members, donors, advocates, partners, and volunteers – to ensure more Minnesotans are stably housed. Thank you for your continued support!

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