Session falls short around funding priorities to end homelessness

We have officially reached the end of the regular Legislative Session for 2022. Before anything else, the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless wants to give our deepest thanks to all of the advocates that stepped up during this intense session to make your voices heard and take action to push our legislators to prioritize homelessness this year. 

The unfortunate news is that when it came time to meet for negotiations, members of the Minnesota House and Senate could not reach an agreement to fund key priorities around homelessness.  However, your tireless efforts put us in the best possible position to get our priorities included in legislation this year, and the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless could not be more grateful for your hard work.

With our combined work, there were key provisions passed in Health & Human Services policy bill, including:

  • Transitional Housing Program timeline extension from 24-36 months and revisions to the language stating that 10% of funding can be used for extensions beyond 36 months. It now states the Commissioner of DHS can simply approve extensions w/out a 10% limit. 
  • Last year, the legislature dedicated $1M/year to be used for shelter capital. However, lawmakers forgot to include the language telling the agency how to spend that money. This year, a proposal came forward to dedicate that funding to youth shelter and each project would be capped at $100K. MCH advocated to increase the max per project to $200K, which passed in the HHS policy bill. 
  • The Taskforce on Shelter’s deadline to finish their work was extended through December 2022.

Here’s what is still to be decided: 

  • Health & Human Services (HHS) funding has not yet passed.
  • No overall bonding bill has been released yet, which could make investments in general obligation bonds for public housing rehabilitation or Housing Infrastructure Bonds (HIBs) for creation of homes.
  • Housing policy and funding bill did not pass.
  • Taxes bill, which included a major overhaul of the Renter’s Credit, did not pass.

What happens next?

While several of our priorities are still to be determined, a silver lining is that the Mental Health “mini”-bus bill passed, which included new $2M/per year for youth shelter-linked mental health grants for youth providers.

In regards to our priorities, the good news is that Governor Walz can call a Special Session to pass funding bills, but it is still uncertain if this will occur. A special session is a period of extended session when the legislature convenes, frequently to complete unfinished tasks for the year where agreements have already been made with a purpose to pass particular bills. 

The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless strongly supports a Special Session to secure the needed funding to fund shelter, services, and homes. 

Thank you for your tireless advocacy and leadership this session.