Housing Supply Fixes, Financial Assistance for Homebuyers, Renter Protections Part of Omnibus Housing Bill

Increasing and maintaining the housing supply, providing financial assistance to homebuyers, renter protections and reducing the racial homeownership gap are key priorities in the omnibus housing bill.

The House Housing Finance and Policy Committee on Tuesday heard a walkthrough of a delete-all amendment to HF4376 and took public testimony. The committee plans to vote on the proposal Wednesday.

Sponsored by Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-Falcon Heights), the bill would appropriate $230 million in fiscal year 2023 and establish a $185 million base in the next biennium toward several programs.

“Many, many people have been involved in this conversation,” Hausman said. “This bill makes historic housing investments and takes major strides in addressing some of the state’s most pressing housing issues.

The bill would provide the following funds in fiscal year 2023:

  • $100 million for a community stabilization program;
  • $50 million for a first-generation homebuyers down payment assistance fund;
  • $20 million for a development and housing challenge program;
  • $14 million for family homeless prevention and assistance programs;
  • $10 million for the housing trust fund account;
  • $10 million for the Homework Starts with Home program;
  • $7 million for local housing trust fund grants;
  • $5.19 million for a manufactured home park cooperative purchase program;
  • $5 million to provide gap financing to rental housing development;
  • $5 million for the strengthening supportive housing model program;
  • $2 million for a lead-safe homes grant program;
  • $1 million for a stable housing mediation grant program; and
  • $1 million for a homeownership, education, counseling and training program.

[MORE: View the spreadsheet]

The bill would modify or establish several new policies and programs.

It would expand eligibility for the Homework Starts with Home program to include minor children, and it would include the so-called “Dustin Luke Shields Act” that would establish a grant program to nonprofits and political subdivisions to provide lead testing and lead remediation in certain rental housing.

Minnesota Housing would be authorized to issue up to $400 million in housing infrastructure bonds.

The bill would also change laws regarding housing infrastructure bonds. It would expand the list of bond usage for acquisition, rehabilitation and construction of housing affordable to households at or below 50% of the area median income with a priority on projects for households below 30%. Up to 20% of units funded by the bonds in senior housing would be required to serve individuals of any age with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Housing funded by the bonds with more than four units would be required to include physical and sensory units.

Renter protections are included, such as a provision to adopt a heat code of 68 degrees, have certain landlord entry restrictions, prohibit source of income discrimination and make changes to pre-eviction notice requirements and eviction expungements.

Testifying on behalf of Minnesota Housing, the agency’s assistant commissioner for policy and community development, Ryan Baumtrog, praised the bill while adding that more down payment assistance is needed.

“We know that the state housing crisis requires consistent, ongoing and higher levels of funding and I think that’s represented well in the House’s position,” Baumtrog said. “Overall, the funding levels, in many cases, are at the governor’s funding levels or exceed. Would note that a number, the majority, of the governor’s recommendations and specific programs are funded either in whole or partially. Just want to acknowledge and appreciate the house’s commitment to those programs.”

The Senate’s omnibus housing bill, SF3994, sponsored by Sen. Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake), was folded into the omnibus agriculture bill, SF4019, in the Senate Finance Committee and is headed to the Senate Floor.

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What’s in the bill?

The following are select bills incorporated in part or in whole into the omnibus housing bill:

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