Walz pledges to go big on affordable housing in his budget

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Speaking to a rally of cheering housing advocates in the state Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz pledged to go big on spending for affordable housing in his budget proposal later this month.

The crowd at the “Start with Home” rally, chanted “$2 billion” as Walz and DFL legislative leaders vowed to sharply increase funding for affordable housing programs ranging from increasing homeownership, preserving existing housing, funding new construction, providing down payment and rental assistance for low-income households and creating a permanent revenue stream dedicated to housing.

The DFL governor didn’t put a price tag on his housing proposals. But referring to the state’s projected $17.6 billion budget surplus, he said, “This can be done because we have the resources to do it… Our economic future depends on us getting it right.”

The state currently spends less than 0.5 percent of its $53 billion two-year budget on housing.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said Minnesota is facing a housing crisis, and members of the House and Senate DFL majorities have joined Walz in making housing a higher priority this year.

The rally was organized by more than 70 non-profit organizations that have formed a coalition to advocate for more housing funding.

“Every human being deserves a safe, affordable home to call their own,” the rally leader, Pastor Elijah McDavid of Minneapolis, told the crowd.

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