Households may lose rental assistance

At least 300 Minnesota households won’t get state rental assistance under current budget proposals. Minnesota Housing Thursday announced a freeze on new admissions to some rental assistance programs as a reaction to anticipated budget cuts. House and Senate proposals are at least $2 million below Governor Mark Dayton’s recommendation for the program.

The programs help people who have been homeless for months move into stable housing. Participants typically pay 30 percent of their income towards rent. Rental vouchers make up the difference. The program last year assisted more than 2,100 households in 53 counties across the state.

Executive Director of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless Liz Kuoppala says she’ll be telling lawmakers that the rental assistance programs keep people from using more expensive emergency services.

If they are trying to get to a place where we are saving money, instead of cycling people through shelters and then through detox and police and all of the things that happen when we force people to live on the streets. We have documented that we save money when we are able to stably house people and that is what this program does.

The freeze on new rental assistance applications takes effect April 1st.

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