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      Budget for a Better Minnesota: Bringing Affordable Housing to Greater Minnesota

      Posted on February 12, 2013 at 8:00 AM

      Bringing Affordable Housing to Greater Minnesota

      Greater Minnesota faces housing shortages, a major problem when trying to attract and retain workers and their families near employment opportunities. That’s why The Governor’s Housing and Job Growth budget initiative will provide $10 million through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency’s (MHFA) Economic Development and Housing Challenge initiative to help communities and employers address this issue. 

      Many communities have already developed housing plans for their areas and simply need a state partner to put them into action. MHFA will work with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to identify top job growth areas and promote the initiative with employers.

      » This Program Works. Studies have shown that employee retention and performance have improved through employer-assisted housing programs. 

      » What is the Challenge Fund? The Challenge Fund initiative was established to encourage public-private partnerships to increase the supply of affordable housing for local workforces. As the name “Challenge” implies, at least 50% of the initiative’s funding must be used on projects with a contribution from non-state resources.

      » Now is the Time to Invest. During the last period of economic growth, the Challenge Fund leveraged more than $15 million in non-state resources from a number of Minnesota employers including the Mayo Clinic, Schwann’s Foods and Blue Fin Bay Resort. As the economy entered the recession, employer contributions slowed to a trickle. With the economy and employer interest rebounding, now is a perfect time to restore the Challenge Fund to previous funding levels.

      » A Long-Term Investment. Funding through this initiative would be made available generally as an interest-free deferred loan, repayable in 30 years. Awardees would be required to maintain the affordability of the assisted housing for the term of the loan.