Beacon Announces ‘Bring It Home, Minnesota’ Rent Subsidy Legislation
New legislation would effectively end homelessness and bring housing stability to 550,000 Minnesotans.
SAINT PAUL, MN, February 4, 2020 – Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative launched ‘Bring It Home, Minnesota’ to address the root of the housing instability crisis in the state. Legislation to be proposed by State Representative Michael Howard (50A) and Senator Kari Dziedzic (60) would provide rent subsidy to every low-income household who qualifies, effectively ending homelessness in the state and bringing housing stability to 550,000 Minnesotans.
“We know the solution to our housing crisis,” said Lee Blons, CEO / President of Beacon. “And it’s simpler than we often make it out to be. When families can pay their rent, they can stay in their home and community.” When low-income households pay more than 30 percent of their income toward rent, the risk of one financial crisis pushing them toward eviction skyrockets. “What Bring It Home, Minnesota will do is ensure rent is more manageable so a hospital visit or the car breaking down won’t tip a family over the edge and into an uncertain future,” remarked Blons.
The legislation would bring housing stability to low-income households by providing assistance that helps them pay an appropriate amount of their income toward rent. Bring It Home, Minnesota will rely on existing local infrastructure of housing authorities – who already understand local needs – to manage and distribute funds in an easy, seamless way. The legislation would fill in the gap for hundreds of thousands of Minnesota households who qualify, bringing stability to renters, landlords, and communities.
“Whether we are striving to eliminate our opportunity gap, create thriving communities or reduce racial disparities, all roads lead to home,” said Representative Michael Howard, who is authoring the bill in the House. “This is about a strong future for our kids. It’s about dignity for parents and safety for seniors. The stability of home touches on every aspect of our lives, and it’s time we made sure that this foundation is guaranteed to every person who calls Minnesota home.”
Faith leaders of Beacon’s collaborating congregations see action to bring housing stability to Minnesota families as a moral imperative. “Rabbinic Tradition teaches that it is incumbent on the community to help provide for basic needs when someone doesn’t have them,” affirmed Rabbi David Locketz of Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka. “Those needs are described as a house, a bed and table. We cannot remain idle while people do not have housing, a place of their own to sleep and eat. The time has come for us to do more here in Minnesota to ensure that each person in our state has these needs met.”
“Studies have demonstrated that having a stable home leads to improved outcomes for children at school,” according to Senator Kari Dziedzic, who is authoring the bill in the Senate. “Stability means fewer health risks and visits to the doctor or the emergency room, greater opportunity to remain employed, less of a chance of slipping into poverty – all things we as a community, we as a state value.”
“Fully funding rent subsidies is the most cost-effective way to achieve housing stability,” continued Blons. “From Grand Rapids to Austin to Richfield and everywhere in between, our communities are suffering right now. We see the ramifications every day when families wonder if they’re going to make it to the first of the month because rent has taken up far too much of their budget. So when we know the solution, when we know what will bring relief to thousands of children, women, and men in every town across Minnesota, when we know rent subsidies make a difference, we know what we have to do. It’s time to Bring It Home, Minnesota.”