Minnesota Needs Rent Subsidy

Dan Gregory July 15, 2020

Bring It Home, MN Legislation is needed to bring stability for renters

Beacon Applauds Emergency Rental Assistance, Renews Call for Long-term Solution

While the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program is a necessary bandage, durable legislation such as Bring It Home, MN is required to bring housing stability to renters.

SAINT PAUL, MN, July 14, 2020 – Renters received a temporary reprieve today with the announcement by Governor Tim Walz of $100 million in emergency rental assistance to be provided beginning in September. The stability of hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans will require long-term solutions, though.

“Beacon joins with renters celebrating the Walz administration’s decision today to allocate $100 million for the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program,” remarked Lee Blons, CEO / President of Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative. “Too many of us, too many of our neighbors, have been wondering how to pay the rent in the midst of this pandemic. These funds are necessary and we applaud the relief they will provide to renters, landlords, and communities. But make no mistake: we are still staring down an historic housing crisis in Minnesota.”

Before COVID-19 and the ensuing economic collapse, more than 550,000 Minnesotans – many of them children – lived in households paying more than they could afford for the rent every single month. As jobs have disappeared and paychecks have dried up, those numbers are swelling. “We put a finger in the dam today, but a tsunami is coming,” cautioned Blons. “If we don’t act quickly and boldly, Minnesotans already struggling to stay afloat are going to have their legs washed out from under them.”

“This is why we need Bring It Home, MN: a comprehensive, simple, sustainable rent subsidy program,” she said. “Ensuring Minnesotans don’t have to pay more than 30 percent of their income toward rent ensures they can get back up on their feet and create brighter futures for their children and their communities. If we had these fundamental assurances in place before COVID-19 struck, we could have avoided a lot of anxiety, a lot of evictions, a lot of debt that has been piled onto families already struggling.”

Providing a statewide rent subsidy program like Bring It Home, MN would effectively end homelessness, dramatically improve our racial equity gap, and increase the quality of life for our children and seniors.

“COVID-19 has demonstrated just how essential home is,” Blons asserted. “We can’t thrive – as individuals or as a state – without it. It’s time we stepped up with lasting solutions that keep people in their homes and keep rents affordable to them. We need Bring It Home, MN – we needed it in February! – and we’re calling on our leaders to say yes to the bold yet simple vision that all people have a home.”