The Minnesota Legislature is currently taking their spring recess, so it’s a great time to catch up on what’s been happening over at the Capitol!
One huge win we want to celebrate is the $50 million for the Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program (FHPAP) which was signed into law last week after passing in the House, the Senate, and being signed into law by Governor Walz– which provides supportive services and financial assistance to eligible households that are currently without housing or at imminent risk of homelessness. This money will be distributed quickly to help people needing assistance right now. While this is great news, we will still continue to advocate for more funding into FHPAP throughout the rest of the legislative session. Below is a table depicting the budgets from each Committee that will be used when they go into Conference Committee negotiations. MCH would prefer to see the House budgets passed into law. Underneath the table, there is additional information and a snapshot of what’s next in our advocacy.
Emergency Services Program and Shelter Capital:
- The House Children & Family Finance & Policy Committee included the Pathway Home Act in their budget at our full funding requests, with the exception of $150M for Shelter Capital rather than $200M. Representative Keeler’s leadership and Representative Pinto’s willingness to include this in the budget shows they are prioritizing homelessness. We are in the best position possible with the House due to your amazing advocacy!
- Not surprisingly, the Senate has a much lower funding amount than the House for the Emergency Services Program (ESP). This was expected and the fact that they included ESP means there is room for negotiation to increase the amount. The Senate did not include any funding for shelter capital and our best guess to explain this decision would be that they are considering having these funds reside in the Capital Investment Committee. However, this is not the Committee we would like to have Shelter Capital within and MCH will be working towards getting these funds moved into the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. As of now, so much is still up in the air regarding this and we will keep you updated as we learn more.
- Due to things moving so fast this legislative session (very uncommon), things are less predictable. Typically, we would still be advocating with key members of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee to increase the amount of funding for homelessness. There has been very little time for advocacy and testimony this year, which is disappointing and is felt from advocates all across the State.
- With budgets already being set, or close to it, our next point of advocacy will be around Conference Committees. This means that 3-5 members from both the House and Senate (totaling 6-10 legislators) will be assigned as Conference Committee Members to negotiate until they have a budget they both agree on. We will have action alerts and other advocacy opportunities to share with you once we know who these legislators are.
- If you would like to advocate between now and and when the Conference Committee Members are named, please reach out to your own Senator and Representative stating they need to prioritize homelessness and share why it is so important to you!
- MCH will reach out in the future as soon as we have advocacy opportunities
For more information on our legislative priorities, check out the 2023 Policy Agenda