Affordable Housing in Minnesota

For over 50 years, CommonBond Communities has worked to build stable homes, strong futures, and vibrant communities. On a micro level, we do this by providing affordable housing and life-enhancing services to residents at each of our 100 housing communities. However, this important work has to be paired with macro-level systems change for us to truly build vibrant, equitable communities for all.

This is where our advocacy and policy work comes into play. And, as the Minnesota legislature begins its 2024 session (February-May), we wanted to share a few of our policy priorities and why they matter:

Resources to preserve existing properties

  • What does this mean?  It’s exciting when we get to build a new development, and critical that organizations like ours continue to increase the number of affordable homes available to folks living on low incomes. However, it’s just as important to preserve, maintain, and rehabilitate existing properties in our portfolio.
  • Why does it matter?  Once a property is built, nonprofit owners and service providers depend on rent as their only source of income to cover operating costs and maintenance. With insurance and operating costs steadily increasing, and residents’ incomes unable to meet rising rent, providers are spending much more than they are making to keep people stably housed. Financial investments in preserving existing affordable housing will help organizations like CommonBond and others ensure the sustainability of our housing communities for decades to come.

Housing Infrastructure Bonds (HIB)

  • What does this mean?  Housing Infrastructure Bonds are special tax-exempt bonds issued by Minnesota Housing. 2024 is a bonding year, which means the Minnesota legislature will be working to pass a bonding bill. CommonBond is working with other affordable housing providers to push for more funding for HIBs that can be used to restructure and stabilize existing affordable housing and build new housing for those in greatest need.
  • Why does it matter?  HIBs finance infrastructure projects around the state, and are often used by organizations like CommonBond to fund loans that finance new multifamily rental projects – including senior housing and supportive housing for individuals and families who are homeless.

Reforms to the Metro Wide Sales Tax

  • What does this mean?  The Metro Area Sales and Use Tax for Housing was passed in last year’s session and became effective October 1, 2023. It increased the local sales tax in seven metro counties to .25% to offer local affordable housing aid.
  • Why does it matter?  Revenue from this sales tax will help fund affordable housing programs. CommonBond will work with other industry leaders to help elected officials and professional staff understand needs in their local communities, and how sales tax proceeds can best be used to serve folks in need of affordable housing.

Opportunities to share our unique perspective

  • What does this mean?  As an affordable housing developer, property manager, and service provider, CommonBond has an important voice and practical mission-driven perspective on what it takes to build, maintain, and provide services in affordable housing in our communities. We meet with lawmakers, serve on work groups, or testify at committees. Residents, property managers, or service providers share their lived experience through phone calls, signing onto letters, or participating in advocacy days like Homeless Day on the Hill*.
  • Why does it matter?  To make informed decisions, those in government need practical insight about what is happening “on the ground.” It’s critical that lawmakers, lobbyists, and voters can hear the nuanced reality of both the housing and service providers and the residents receiving those homes and services.

The challenges presented by rising inflation, unlivable wages, and the current housing climate are large – but so is our resolve. We know there is power in numbers, which is why CommonBond works in groups (often called coalitions) of other organizations. We also believe there is power in sharing people’s voices and experiences. As we move forward together into 2024 and a new legislative session, we will continue this important work so that every person can have access to a dignified, affordable home.

*Minnesota’s Homeless Day on the Hill is an annual event where community members and groups gather at the capitol to advocate or lobby, and possibly meet with elected officials. Organized by Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, the 2024 event took place on Wednesday, March 20, 2024.

Our Impact

Every day, our supporters, volunteers, staff, and community members make our work possible. Below you can view our latest annual report with resident testimonials, stories of impact, program statistics, and financial information.