To the editor:
As a social work student in Minnesota, and recently working with clients in Housing Stabilization Services, I have seen firsthand the impact of affordable housing on people with disabilities. Everyone deserves an affordable, stable, and suitable place to call home, and having access to affordable housing is essential for well-being.
The Minnesota House recently passed a bill called HF2335. The bill would provide more than $1 billion in funding for affordable housing programs in the state. This bill includes a proposed 0.25 percent sales tax for the Twin Cities metro area; however, this tax would, among other programs, make possible funding for landlord mediation support and home rehabilitation financing for people with disabilities.
In Article 4 of the bill, (in Article 4, Section 1, Subdivision 14, line 34.3) agencies could tap into special loans to make housing work for a person with disabilities, when typical financing is not otherwise available. This bill allows agencies to use grants for “accessibility rehabilitation loans” when, according to bill’s wording, “the borrower or a member of the borrower’s family requires a level of care provided in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or intermediate care facility for persons with developmental disabilities; (2) home care is appropriate; and (3) the improvement will enable the borrower or a member of the borrower’s family to reside in the housing.” From this reading, this looks like more home rehabilitation loan funds available to individuals using waivered services.
This bill specifically includes, (in Article 2, Section 4), the establishment of a statewide housing mediation grant program, citing “people with disabilities,” when talking about supporting the needs of renters along with residential property owners. The proposed mediation grant program includes a provision stating that agencies may use the grant to “increase mediation services for seniors and renters with disabilities and illnesses that face housing instability.”
Passing this bill will demonstrate Minnesota’s commitment to increasing access to affordable housing and promoting the well-being of all Minnesotans.
The next step for the bill, HF2335, to become law is for it to be passed by the Senate and if they approve the bill, it will be sent to Gov. Tim Walz for his signature.
I urge Minnesota residents to contact your senator in your district, and the governor, to voice your support of HF2335.
Graduate Student, Social Work
Henrietta Schmoll School of Health Sciences
St. Catherine University