A special session is off the table. The Governor and House Majority Leaders failed to reach a negotiation that would resurrect the Legislature’s work this year. A lot of funding was at stake for Minnesotans experiencing homelessness. Both chambers passed a bonding bill that included $45 million for housing. However, a last minute amendment was added that caused the legislature to miss its deadline.

Moreover, a tax bill passed but it was not signed by the Governor due to a wording error. The tax bill included the Working Family Credit, which would have served the low wage workers in Minnesota.

Candidates need to hear from you

Without a bonding bill, the legislature failed to invest in affordable housing. Investments would have built or preserved thousands of units for Minnesotans in need. We expect more from our legislative leaders.

Our coalition is resolved to fix this in 2017, but we need your help during election season. As you see candidates out door knocking, in the community, or at events, we encourage you to talk with them about homelessness and housing issues. Let them know that without a bonding bill this year, important investments in affordable housing were lost. What you share on the campaign trail matters when elected officials get into office.

You’ll find three questions you can ask legislative candidates before the election here. You can also find every legislative candidate’s contact information here. If you have a chance to speak with candidates about housing issues, please let me know (dan@mnhomelesscoalition.org).

Looking ahead and next steps

In the coming months, the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless (MCH) is preparing its legislative agenda with the Homes for All and Prosperity for All coalitions. Major work was left undone this year, from the bonding bill to raising MFIP cash assistance. At the end of session, the Health and Human Services Chair stated on the Senate floor that the legislature needed to come back and look at raising MFIP in 2017. Meanwhile, the need to improve housing and economic security in Minnesota is ongoing. There is a lot of work to do—and we need your help.

The next legislative session starts January 3, 2017 and runs until mid-May. The legislature will be responsible for passing a new two-year budget. After years of construction, the newly renovated Capitol building will be open to the public. We look forward to moving above and beyond what our coalitions proposed this year.

Starting Thursday, September 1 at 3:00 p.m., MCH will be hosting weekly, 30-minute statewide conference calls. This is a way to connect and organize election work and planning for the next legislative session. I hope you will join us.  Please sign up here.

Thank you for your important advocacy.

– Dan