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    $100 million for housing considered in bonding bill

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    Lawmakers are considering $100 million for housing in the bonding bill. Thursday is Homeless Day on the Hill. A record 600 individuals from across the state will be at the Capitol to speak with lawmakers about housing.

    Liz Kuoppala, executive director of Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, along with Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul) spoke at a press conference outlining a $100 million bonding bill Kuoppala hopes to see passed this year.

    The bill, which has bipartisan support, is modeled after a successful campaign in Utah that has virtually eliminated homelessness. It would provide for 5,000 housing units across the state, according to Kuoppala.

    “There’s growing recognition that with better housing stability, kids do better at school, workers do better at work,” she said. “Housing stability makes good economic sense. There’s nothing controversial about it.”

    According to Hausman, advodcates asked for $50 million in a bill last year, which didn’t pass, so they’re asking for $100 million this year. “It’s unprecedented but it makes good economic sense,” Hausman said, noting that half of the people who are homeless are under the age of 20.

    Research from the University of Minnesota has found that homeless children, by the time they are in 5th grade, achieve only as much as a 2nd grader with stable housing. “We have billions invested in education,” Hausman said. “This is a small investment that would ensure those billions would be better spent.”

    Of the $100 million asked for in the bill, $20 million would go toward traditional public housing and $80 million would go to the Minnesota Finance Agency, which would leverage that funding with nonprofits and private dollars.