Media alert: Will tax reform cost Minnesota thousands of affordable homes?

House bill passed last week would deal a massive blow to affordable housing production throughout the state

What: Press conference

When: Tuesday, November 21; 11:00am

Where: Upper Post Veterans Community, 6210 Bloomington Rd, St. Paul, MN

What’s at stake:

  • Over the past 10 years, nearly $2 billion in private activity bonds have supported the construction of more than 15,000 affordable rental homes across the state. But the tax reform bill passed by the House last week eliminates that vital tool.
  • The House bill would have devastating impact on affordable housing production by eliminating tax exempt private activity bonds and the historic tax credit, and reducing the corporate tax rate without modifications to the Housing Tax Credit.
  • Eliminating tax exempt private activity bonds would result in a loss of 3,400 affordable rental units in Minnesota each year.
  • Just under 800 units of affordable housing that were awarded state funding last month would be unable to move forward if this bill passes in its current form.
  • There’s still time to make sure the Senate passes a bill that continues these vital investments in our communities.

Speakers:

  • Commissioner Mary Tingerthal, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency
    • Commissioner Tingerthal will speak to the statewide impacts on affordable housing production and the ability to support first time homebuyers through proven programs at MHFA.
  • Deidre Schmidt, CEO of CommonBond Communities
    • CommonBond Communities is the largest provider of affordable housing and services in the Upper Midwest — and many of its projects would not have happened without the financing tools at risk in the tax reform bills.
  • Kirsten Hagen-Kennedy, Mayor of North Branch
    • Cherokee Place, a 48 unit affordable rental development in North Branch, was awarded funding from Minnesota Housing in October. The proposed tax reform legislation would mean these homes would be at risk of not being constructed.
  • Barbara Jeanetta, Executive Director of Alliance Housing
    • Alliance Housing creates tangible, long term housing solutions for homeless families and individuals. Minnesota Housing recently announced funding for Minnehaha Commons, 43 units of affordable housing for extremely low-income seniors, to be developed by Alliance Housing.
  • Directly impacted residents, including veterans and families
    • At CommonBond properties alone, nearly 5,000 families have a place to call home because of the resources that would disappear with in the House tax reform bill.
  • State Senator Patricia Torres Ray (invited)
  • State Representative Jim Knoblach (invited)
  • Mayors James Hovland (Edina), Betsy Hodges (Minneapolis), and Chris Coleman (St. Paul)
  • Mayors-Elect Jacob Frey (Minneapolis) and Melvin Carter (St. Paul) (invited)

Learn more about threats to affordable housing in the tax reform proposals — and the impact on Minnesota — at http://mhponline.org/blog/connect.

Contact: Kirsten Rokke, Communications Co-Chair for Homes for All or Carolyn Szczepanski, Director of Communications & Research at Minnesota Housing Partnership

Email: kirsten@mnhomelesscoalition.org or carolyn.szczepanski@mhponline.org

Cell: Kirsten: 319-961-1402; Carolyn: 202-355-3048

About Homes for All MN:

Homes for All is a statewide coalition that advances shared policy initiatives that lead to housing stability for all Minnesotans. Homes for All supports statewide investment across Minnesota’s Housing Continuum.

West Birch Estates to provide affordable homes to Princeton area families


Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are currently working on a tax reform bill that could eliminate tax exempt private activity bonds, a critical tool that supports the production and rehab of thousands of affordable homes each year. West Birch Estates is one of the many Minnesota projects at risk if that happens. Read more and take action here. Reposted with permission from Minnesota Housing Partnership’s blog, “MHP Connect.”

Victoria Hallin has been a leader in her community of Princeton, Minnesota for years. She’s served on the City Council for 14 years, been mayor for four, acted as EDA commissioner for 12 years, and she just started serving on the city planning commission.

“My whole heart and soul is vested in this community,” Hallin said.

But 17 years ago, Hallin had more pressing matters to deal with than building a better Princeton. Her first and only priority was to find a home for herself and her four sons. Hallin had decided to leave her husband, and over the next few months, her life changed drastically.

After Hallin moved out for a summer — a block away from her sons — she discovered that her husband had failed to pay lot rent for their mobile home. He and the boys were evicted. Because Hallin’s name was also on the lot lease, she was barred from renting for a year.

Suddenly, Hallin and her boys were homeless. And finding an apartment they could afford — let alone one that would accommodate four boys — was a major challenge due to Princeton’s shortage of affordable rentals and affordable rentals suitable for families.

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Policy Proposal Applications Due Date *Extended* to 10/26

Put your idea on the Homes for All legislative agenda! Policy proposal applications are now due on Thursday, October 26, 2017 by 5 p.m.

The legislative process can seem daunting and overwhelming. However, when community members, organizations, thought leaders and people with lived experiences convene around a table with a purpose of achieving equitable policies, great things transpire. Achieving great legislation does not happen in a year, and the recent talk about cuts circulating around our great state may have many advocates feeling unsure about our upcoming legislative session. 

DO NOT be deterred by such talk! The Homes for All proposal process is a great place to present your policy ideas, no matter how complete or preliminary it is.

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Homes for All Welcomes New Co-Chairs! 

Our new co-chairs have been selected! Please join us in welcoming Senta Leff, Executive Director of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless (representing solutions to homelessness) and Allison Streich, Deputy Director at Carver County CDA (representing affordable housing organizations). Below they have answered a few questions so we can get to know them better!

Who are you? 

SL: My name is Senta Leff, and I am the executive director of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless. I have worked toward building solutions to housing and economic security, especially for families, for almost 15 years. I am a mom to two beautiful little girls and have a stepson — all of whom I enjoy watching grow into unique individuals with each passing day. I am also a board member of the Family Housing Fund and hold a degree in Women’s Studies from Mills College. 

AS: My name is Allison Streich, and I am the Deputy Director for Carver County CDA. I have been with the agency for just under 11 years and the Deputy Director for the past two years. I have worked in the affordable housing industry since graduating from college. During my time at the CDA, I have also served as the Chair for Heading Home Scott Carver, Vice Chair and Co-Chair for Scott Carver Project Community Connect, and Vice Chair for Scott Carver Housing Coalition. I have a 10-year-old son who is in fifth grade, and he is so much fun.

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