The widening homeownership gap is well documented and continues to be elevated as a major issue facing our state, including the recent report from the Urban Institute noting that the Twin Cities has the worst racial gap in ownership across the nation. Deepening our state’s investment in closing this gap cannot come at a more urgent time than now.
In a bipartisan effort this legislative session, leaders in the Senate GOP and DFL and the House DFL, with much support from members of the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus, have demonstrated their commitment to increasing affordable ownership opportunities in our state and working toward closing these terrible gaps. We celebrate with gratitude the $18.33 million (of $100 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds) set aside for new home production and $3.25 million for the Workforce Homeownership Program, specifically focused on affordable ownership.
As the state continues to explore ways to resolve our many racial inequities and our affordable housing crisis, we also express our appreciation for investments in the full affordable housing continuum with new investments of $10 million annually for the Affordable Housing Tax Credit; supports for Local Housing Trust Funds (LHTF) that allows cities to direct increment generated by a housing rural innovation fund (RIF) into a Local Housing Trust Fund, and the entire Housing Infrastructure Bond bill, supporting multiple types of affordable housing.
A healthy affordable housing continuum is critical to alleviating our state’s racial equity and housing supply challenges. This year’s budget demonstrates an investment across the continuum and is a step forward. This is only a beginning, as the Urban Institute report pointed out, there is a lot of work to do to tackle these challenges. Members of the Homeownership Minnesota Coalition are eager to partner with Minnesota Housing in utilizing these resources to decrease our racial disparities in homeownership and increase ownership opportunities for low-income households around the state.
Cristen Incitti is the president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota (@HabitatMN), and a co-chair of the Homeownership Minnesota Coalition. Habitat for Humanity has been creating affordable homeownership opportunities in Minnesota for more than 30 years. Homeownership Minnesota is a statewide coalition of 14 affordable homeownership nonprofits. This coalition is working to elevate homeownership as a solution to our statewide affordable housing shortage as a necessary step toward closing wealth disparities and addressing racial inequities.
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