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MN Mortgage Money Could Fuel Affordable Housing

April 20, 2010

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Rather than bracing for another budget blow this legislative session, housing advocates in Minnesota are being creative in their approach to funding solutions. As the housing market slowly rebounds, a new bill proposes to take the extra housing tax revenue resulting from the improving market and plow it back into affordable housing.

According to Kristin Beckmann, director of government and community relations for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, the bill has broad support because of its no-new-taxes approach.

"This is not new revenue, it's not a new tax increase. This is dedicating an existing revenue source that comes from housing, to housing."

If the measure passes, the fund would generate $19 million to $39 million annually, resulting in construction of 10,000 to 15,000 affordable homes over the next decade.

The investment would also mean more jobs and local revenue for communities, says Minnesota Housing Partnership vice president of programs, Shannon Guernsey.

"This investment will help increase our property values and improve our housing prices which will be a key part of us coming back and having a healthy housing market over time."

Kristin Beckmann of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity says this is good news for Minnesotans.

"After years of a downward cycle in the housing market, this investment would turn that around and would represent the beginning of an upward cycle."

A hearing is scheduled Wednesday at the Minnesota House of Representatives on the proposed legislation.

Sharon Rolenc/Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MN