May 27, 2023
2023 Legislative Session Highlights
By: Kari Johnson & Kelly Law
It was a big year for the community development field and MCCD is proud to see our efforts, and those of our members and partners, pay off in a big way! The election outcome last fall surprised a lot of people, coupled with the massive $17.5+ Billion budget surplus, and advocates around the state set out to increase funding requests. MCCD’s final state policy agenda focused in on 4 key goals that informed our advocacy for the 2023 legislative session:
- Close the Racial Homeownership Gap – Secure permanent funding for the Workforce Homeownership Program for the development & Preservation of Affordable homes. (HF 1635 | SF 3237)
- Build more Deeply Affordable Rental Housing – Lead advocacy efforts to secure Housing Infrastructure Bond (HIB) investments and secure transformative policy changes. (HF 302 | SF 1094)
- Support BIPOC and Immigrant Small Businesses – Advance permanent funding increase to support the Small Business Assistance Partnership Program. (HF 504 | SF 1720)
- Create Commercial Shared Ownership Opportunities – Establish the Community Wealth Building Grant Program to support shared ownership business models. (HF 318 | SF 1696)
The MCCD policy team grew last year and for the first time ever, we doubled our advocacy efforts at the Minnesota Capitol! Kelly Law took on the affordable housing work and Kari refocused efforts on the economic development programs & funding requests. See the highlights below:
Small Business Assistance Partnership Grants – $12.85 million (FY 24-25) & $5.45 million ongoing
- MCCD has been leading on this program and funding request for years and this year we are finally codifying this program and getting a significant funding increase.
- This program is a competitive grant program at DEED that supports small business technical assistance. This grant has helped supplement technical assistance for small businesses around Minnesota for years. With codifying the program, we added LGBTQ + as a targeted group along with clarifying that cooperatives and commercial land trusts are eligible businesses that can be helped with this program.
- $12.85 million is an increase from the previous base funding of $2.85 million and there will be at a minimum $5.45 million in future years.
- DEED is currently working on the RFP for this grant program – we expect it to come out within a month or so. Sign up here to get notified of this grant opportunity as well as others! MCCD will also track the application and notify partners when available.
Community Wealth Building Pilot Program – $3 Million
- This bill came together last year for the first time in an effort to get the state to do more to support commercial shared ownership businesses.
- MCCD has been named as the organization to pilot the program for DEED to support commercial land trusts, worker cooperatives and other employee-owned businesses!
Expanding Opportunity Low-Interest Capital Fund – $10 Million
- This is a new revolving low-interest loan fund that will provide affordable capital to DEED partner CDFIs and other non-profit economic development organizations. This is very exciting as we’ve never had anything like this at the state level!
Over a decade ago, MCCD helped create the Homes for All Coalition with some of our key partners. From the first $100 million in HIBs in 2014 to the Lt. Governor Affordable Housing Forum in 2018, little by little our advocacy efforts along with our partners and members has finally paid off! We hope that $1 Billion is the new standard so we can truly make the transformative changes that will not just change the stability of families across Minnesota, but also the communities they call home. In total, the bill includes $1 billion in investments for the entire housing continuum.
Housing Infrastructure Cash (In place of HIBs) – $200 million
- MCCD led efforts to secure a historic allocation in Housing Infrastructure cash. This investment will allow our affordable housing members to build thousands of new units of permanently affordable housing.
- We also worked to ensure that our policy changes were included in the final bill, including expanding the eligible uses of HIBs to include the development and preservation of housing at 50% AMI and under without supportive services. This change will ensure that folks between 30% and 50% AMI not needing supportive services will also have access to housing that is affordable to them.
Workforce Homeownership Program – $75.5 million
- With $20.5 million authorized in the Housing budget and $55 million authorized by Taxes, the Workforce and Affordable Homeownership Program will receive a total of $75.5 million over the next biennium.
Homeownership Education, Counseling, and Training – $3.7 million
- These resources will help get potential homeowners ready to access the new down payment assistance funding, along with increased affordable homeownership supply.
Emergency Rental Assistance – $115.5 million
- The Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program will receive $65,538,000 for the biennium (2024-25), in addition to the $50 million already awarded, for a total of $115.5 million for this biennium.
- These crucial dollars will ensure that Minnesota families remain stable in their housing TODAY, and will decrease the number of evictions that Minnesota families face.
Down Payment Assistance – $150 million
- $100 million of the available down payment assistance dollars will be available through Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation as an administrator for the community-based first-generation homebuyers down payment assistance program.
There were many other provisions in both the economic development and affordable housing bills that we are excited about and have been supporting, including the supplemental funding support for supportive services, affordable housing providers relief, 4d, public housing bonding investments, small business grants and economic corridor redevelopment. We are so excited to see what all of these investments can do to help Minnesotans across the state and are super thankful to all of the support we have from our members and community partners.