Minnesota Housing Partnership   www.mhponline.org
Minnesota Housing Partnership

EMBARGOED UNTIL December 4, 2013, 10 am PRESS CONFERENCE (details below)

   Contact:        
Leigh Rosenberg
Minnesota Housing Partnership  
(651) 925-5543
Shannon Guernsey
Minnesota NAHRO
(651) 925-4071

 

Sequestration cuts hit housing for state's seniors, families, disabled adults

--Minnesota report finds longer waiting lists, higher costs, and unexpected moves--

St. Paul, MN (Embargoed until December 4, 2013, 10 am)

Minnesota’s most important federal housing programs for low-income renters are reeling under pressure from sequestration-induced budget cuts, finds a new report from the Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) and the Minnesota chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Authorities (NAHRO).

percent change in federal funding for HCV and public housingSince 2010, substantial federal budget cuts to Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV or Section 8 Vouchers) and Public Housing have left local housing authorities scrambling to keep their programs solvent and administer needed housing assistance to some of Minnesota's most vulnerable people.

Together these programs provide housing assistance to over 50,000 low-income Minnesota households. Nearly 60% include someone who is elderly or has a disability, and over a third of the residents are children. The average household income for those using the programs is under $15,000 annually.

The report, Out in the Cold: Sequestration and Federal Housing Programs in Minnesota, investigates the impacts of budget cuts to HCV (Section 8) and public housing. Based on surveys of local program administrators, the study finds that housing authorities are cutting staff, cutting maintenance, and leaving available vouchers unfilled due to budget pressures. Efforts are being made to protect residents, but sometimes families are being asked to move or pay higher minimum rents, even when this will make housing unaffordable to them.

As waiting lists grow and vouchers are left unfilled, people endure unstable housing situations and sometimes live without a home altogether. Some administrators, especially of smaller agencies, worry that if cuts continue, they will lose the ability to operate their programs at all and residents will be left out in the cold.

Randal Hemmerlin, director of the Red Wing Housing and Redevelopment Authority and president of Minnesota NAHRO explained the impacts of budget cuts in Red Wing. “Some of the most vulnerable people we have in Red Wing, including elderly and disabled community members, do not receive Section 8 rental assistance now, even though they would have one to two years ago. We are faring even worse in public housing. We simply are not collecting enough revenue to maintain the buildings. Unfortunately, Red Wing's situation is not unique,” said Hemmerlin.
Chip Halbach, MHP’s Executive Director added, "The cuts to these successful, effective, safety net housing programs are tragic. It is essential that we find policy alternatives."
Press Conference Wednesday, December 4, 10:00 am
The media is invited to attend a press conference on the findings and implications of Out in the Cold: Sequestration and Federal Housing Programs in Minnesota. Local leaders and experts will offer several viable policy solutions. Location: 600 18th Ave. N, Minneapolis.
Speakers include:
  • State Rep. Alice Hausman, Chair of House Capital Investment Committee
  • Cora McCorvey, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority
  • Study author and representatives of MHP and NAHRO

For access to an embargoed copy of the report, please contact Leigh Rosenberg at lrosenberg@mhponline.org or 651-925-5543. The embargo will end at the time of the press conference on December 4.
 

# # #

The Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) convenes, guides, and supports those working to improve the conditions of home and community. Building on decades of experience, we strengthen development capacity and promote policies that expand opportunity, especially for people at the lowest income levels. In partnership, we help translate aspirations into action. MHP is an affirmative action provider and employer.

The Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) serves the state’s housing and community development needs. Our mission is to be the leading housing and community development organization in Minnesota by promoting strong, viable communities for all Minnesotans, particularly those with low and moderate incomes. Our goal is to enhance the knowledge and effectiveness of our members through professional development, education and advocacy.

Click here to sign up for MHP's individual publications and action alerts.
2446 University Ave. W - Ste 140 | St. Paul, MN 55114