Hoping to provide more affordable housing

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Affordable housing supporters seek $100 million in new state bonding authority for grants to provide additional units of affordable housing across the state.

Sponsored by Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Mpls), HF1354 would grant loans from the sale of bonds to local governments and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Grantees could then acquire land to construct affordable rental housing units. They may also acquire vacant or foreclosed residential property to renovate and sell at affordable prices.

The House Housing Finance and Policy and Public Health Finance Division laid the bill over for possible inclusion in its omnibus bill. A companion, SF1382, sponsored by Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisolm) is scheduled to be heard March 20 by a Senate housing subcommittee.

The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency offers Challenge Grants to nonprofit organizations that support affordable housing. For example, First Homes, sponsored by the Rochester Area Foundation, manages nearly 200 homes through its Community Land Trust program. Recipients own the home but do not own the land it sits upon. They are able to resell their home and receive 25 percent of the profit. The remainder is retained and reinvested in the land trust program.

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