Friends and advocates,
The 2018 Legislative session is in the books, but not without many twists, turns, and surprises along the way. Last week, Governor Dayton signed his last piece of legislation as the Governor of Minnesota, and as the summer progresses, work to secure the next Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota will intensify!
Here are the major bills Governor Dayton took action on after session ended:
- Bonding Bill: Signed
- Supplemental Budget Bill: Vetoed
- Tax Bill: Vetoed
A Historic WIN for Affordable Housing
Housing advocates across the state are celebrating a historic win! At the end of May, Governor Dayton signed into law a bonding bill which authorizes $1.5 billion for infrastructure repairs. Homes for All advocates secured $90 million for affordable housing and coalition partners succeeded in obtaining $30 million for Mental Health Crisis Centers. The investments which H4A advocated for are structured in the following ways:
- $10m for General Obligation Bonds (GO) – Public Housing
- $50m for Housing Infrastructure Bonds (HIB) – Non-restricted Permanent Supportive Housing
- $30m for HIB – Restricted to Permanent Supportive Housing for individuals w/Behavioral Health needs
- New eligible use of Bonding Money – Senior Housing for people 55 and older
- New eligible use of Bonding Money – Manufactured Housing
The new bond authority is made available for applicants through Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) as part of the 2018 Consolidated RFP.
Supplemental Budget Request
This past session proved to be a difficult one for securing a supplemental bill. Many issues were vying for the $329 million budget surplus. However, after the Legislature coalesced behind one supplemental package and passed it onto the Governor’s desk, it was voted. None of the provisions which were a part of the Homes for All supplemental requests were included. As a reminder, you can find our 2018 supplemental request here.
Additional New Eligible Uses Information for HIBs from MHFA
Projects eligible for proceeds from HIBs include both previously eligible uses and new uses authorized in the bonding bill. Previously eligible uses include:
- Preserve federally subsidized rental housing
- Build permanent supportive housing for persons or families experiencing or at risk of homelessness
- Acquire land by community land trusts for single family homes for homeownership
- New use – Affordable housing for seniors age 55 and older earning approximately $24,000-$40,000 per year
- New use – Manufactured home park improvements and infrastructure
- New priority – $30 million for permanent supportive housing for people with behavioral health needs
Minnesota Housing expects to make up to $60 million in proceeds from HIBs available with the 2018 RFP. In addition to proposals for projects under previously eligible uses, proposals serving seniors and people with behavioral mental health needs will be eligible for consideration in the 2018 RFP funding round, but only based on competitiveness under the existing scoring criteria.
We will not allocate proceeds from all of the additional HIB authority in the 2018 Consolidated RFP, and expect that proceeds from the additional HIBs will be available in the 2019 Consolidated RFP. We encourage potential applicants to reach out to Susan.Thompson@state.mn.us in the fall to pursue technical assistance on proposals eligible for HIB funding for consideration in the 2019 Consolidated RFP.
Specific Requirements for Senior Projects
- Projects serving seniors 55 years of age or older with annual incomes not greater than 50% of the metropolitan median income for persons in the metropolitan area or 50% of the statewide median for persons outside the metropolitan area. Minnesota Housing will update the Multifamily Rent and Income webpage as soon as this information is available.
- Eighty percent of units must be occupied by at least one senior per unit.
- There is a priority for senior projects serving households at 30% of Metropolitan median.
Manufactured Home Parks
Proposals for projects seeking financing for manufactured home park infrastructure and improvements will not be accepted as a part of the 2018 RFP. We expect to provide additional guidance for potential applicants for this new eligible use later this year.
Renter’s Credit Safe and Protected
The Legislature voted on and passed a final tax bill that contained provisions to update Minnesota’s tax code and was presented to Governor Dayton for consideration. The Legislature and Governor Dayton did not come to an agreement on the bill and, Dayton vetoed it several days later.
Therefore the Renters Credit provision will continue to provide the same exemptions and refund amounts to families, people with disabilities and seniors.
Fines and Fees
The bill to end driver’s license suspension for unpaid traffic tickets was passed out of the House and Senate and included in the Supplemental Budget bill. The Supplemental Budget bill was vetoed by Governor Dayton. The fines and fees bill would have given judges discretion to waive or reduce the $75 state surcharge in cases of financial hardship.
Thank you for participating in our democracy and securing investments and policy changes which strengthen the housing continuum.
We couldn’t do our work without you!
Until next time,