Potential housing assistance plan shared


The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency could have more than $1.4 billion in new funding available to support affordable housing programs for a two-year period beginning Oct. 1, 2009.

An estimated 97,000 Minnesota households would receive assistance under the proposed budget program, Commissioner Dan Bartholomay told a joint hearing of the House Housing Finance and Policy and Public Health Finance Division and the Housing Subcommittee of the Senate Economic Development and Housing Budget Division. (Watch the hearing.)

The agency board is to consider the proposal at its Sept. 24 meeting. Program funding would come from federal and state resources, bond proceeds and agency resources.

Bartholomay called the proposal “financially responsible,” saying it reflects current market conditions.

One highlight is using $550 million to create homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers. The agency estimates more than 4,500 households would be helped with these dollars.

Other plan components include:
• greater emphasis on affordable housing and foreclosure preservation;
• priority for projects that maximize the positive community impact of housing investments; and
• maximum use of federal dollars.

According to its mission statement, “Minnesota Housing finances and advances affordable housing opportunities for low and moderate income Minnesotans to enhance quality of life and foster strong communities.” In 2008, the agency provided $669.8 million of assistance for more than 67,000 households.

Support people-powered non-profit journalism! Volunteer, contribute news, or become a member to keep the Daily Planet in orbit.