Groups off to a slow start in assessing and implementing the 2018 recommendations.
State lawmakers formed two new working groups this year to study the lack of affordable housing in Minnesota, an unfolding crisis that was the focus of another housing task force convened by former Gov. Mark Dayton the year before.
Activists and politicians who have long sought state resources to tackle the housing problem say they welcome the renewed attention. But some also are asking what Minnesota will have to show for the hodgepodge of disjointed task forces and commissions.
The majority of the recommendations from Dayton’s task force remain unfinished — and the organization that was intended to champion those recommendations recently lost its only staff member.
“How is this any different from the governor’s task force on housing?” stalwart housing advocate Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, asked about the two legislative groups that are supposed to start meeting this summer.
Sen. Rich Draheim, R-Madison Lake, led the first meeting of the Select Committee on Home Ownership Affordability and Availability last week. He said the Dayton-era task force “was a good exercise … but we didn’t do anything,” and they need to try new approaches.
He suggested disqualifying cities from getting state aid for affordable housing if they are unwilling to change zoning and density requirements.
The bulk of the meeting focused on presentations from Realtors and homebuilders. The groups raised concerns about local regulatory requirements and high land costs that developers said prevents them from building homes under $250,000, despite a desperate need for housing in that price range.
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"As new housing groups convene, some ask: Is this just more talk?"; By Jessie Van Berkel; Star Tribune; August 17, 2019