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Affordable Housing Solutions Summit
Hosted by Senator Dan Hall (R) & Senator Greg Clausen (D) 

You are invited to participate in a Fall Housing Summit to work together with local and State leaders to develop solutions to increase affordable housing.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
8:00am – Arrival & Continental Breakfast
8:30-10:30am - Program
St. John Neumann, 4030 Pilot Knob Road, Eagan

Goals of this bipartisan Summit:

  • Participate in developing solutions to create affordable housing
  • Understand the most up to date affordable housing needs in Dakota County and challenges of a historically tight housing market
  • Learn from developers who are building affordable housing, the challenges experienced, and recommendations to overcome the challenges
  • Hear from a panel of professionals including: Mike Waldo RonClark Construction & Design Ann McInerney St. Paul Public Schools Tony Schertler Dakota County CDA Mayor Janet Williams Savage, Minnesota James Vagle Housing First Minnesota

For Information: Jean MacFarland (MICAH & CATCH) 952-894-2033 or jeanmacfarland@comcast.net, RSVP Requested: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/affordable-housing-solutions-summit-tickets-38154716785




With hundreds wanting to comment on Ford plant redevelopment, hearing will continue next week
By Frederick Melo, fmelo@pioneerpress.com, Pioneer Press PUBLISHED: September 20, 2017 at 9:15 pm, UPDATED: September 20, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Whitney Clark, president of the Friends of the Mississippi River, said the Ford plant site in St. Paul needs more bluff-edge parkland. Housing activist John Slade likes the density but wants more affordable housing. Youth coach Kevin Cunningham said the city’s zoning plan “is essentially to drop a chunk of Manhattan — the isle of Manhattan — in St. Paul."

Noting that the Twin Cities are suffering apartment vacancy rates that are among the lowest in the nation, housing advocates said the city has mostly heard from homeowners in the area, as opposed to the silent majority of renters desperate for more housing construction.
They noted the master plan envisions 20 percent of the housing — or up to 800 units — will be designated affordable housing for low- to middle-income residents earning 50 and 60 percent of area median income. They’d like to see that goal expand.

We like the density,” said Slade, speaking on behalf of the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing. “We think you should (offer) a ‘density bonus’ for affordable housing.”

Council member Dai Thao called for an additional 10 percent affordable housing to be targeted to the very poor, or residents earning no more than 30 percent of area median income. 

Read complete article here.


With too many homeless and too few shelter beds, city funding policy debated
By Randy Furst Star Tribune September 18, 2017 — 6:58am

De Andre Hudson got the bad news on a recent weekday evening when he called the homeless hot line at Simpson United Methodist Church, asking if the city had an open shelter bed.

No luck. Every adult shelter bed in Minneapolis was filled, an advocate who was taking phone calls, told him. It meant another night spent riding the light rail back and forth between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Forty others like Hudson would also be denied. 

Complete article here.


Minnesota housing needs high-level attention

By Editorial Board, Star Tribune July 28, 2017 - 6:16 PM

From many quarters, evidence is accumulating that the availability and affordability of housing are not sufficient to keep Minnesota thriving. Consider: Housing for lower- and middle-income workers has been in short supply in greater Minnesota for so long that employers and city officials have become regulars at the State Capitol, seeking funds to spur construction of both discounted and market-rate homes.
Continued http://m.startribune.com/minnesota-housing-needs-h...


MICAH 2017 Celebration "Living Love!"

was held Tuesday, June 13. The Keynote speaker was Pastor Chris Olson Bingea from First Lutheran Church in St. Paul. MICAH celebrated their heroes with the 2017 Community Hero Awards Complete list of awards is here.

Among those honored were Cathy Walters and her group acting as www.mobilehopemn.org along with the MICAH Housing for All chapter. Cathy has been part of a small faith sharing group for several years studying issues around poverty, immigration, criminal justice, racism, homelessness. Instead of entering into more study the group collectively decided to start being the hands & feet of Jesus and put their energy into building relationships in the Dayton Park Properties in Dayton, MN.


Left to right: Roxanne Smith, St. Joseph the Worker Social Justice Coordinator; Jane Warren, Volunteer; Sharon Burns, Volunteer; JD Burns, Board of Director; Dan Walter, volunteer/financial contributor; and, Cathy Walter, Exec. Director/volunteer. 

MICAH recognizes Richfield Council Member Maria Regan Gonzalez 

As new council member, Maria Regan Gonzalez is the complete package for an "affordable housing champion" who works with the people and for the people. She was instrumental in saving Seasons Park, a 420 unit Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH)project in Richfield with Aeon. 


MICAH South Chapter recognizes as Community Heroes, the four congregations: Grace Lutheran Church, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Spirit of Life Presbyterian Church, and Easter Lutheran Church, who were willing to open their doors to 78 of our community members and host a warm, safe 24 hour temporary crisis shelter during bitterly cold days in December and January.  The Pioneer Press wrote about this effort here.

Treated with dignity and respect, singles, youth and families who had no other option for safe shelter, found rest, warmth, help and peace with these four hosting faith communities. Through their faith, courage and commitment, numerous other Dakota County community partners, elected officials, congregation members and organizations have become aware of the need for a safe shelter for our neighbors. Hundreds reached out in support of the shelter guests last winter. They have given of their time, donated needed supplies, contributed financially and are seeking ways to be part of the effort to establish a permanent safe shelter for our neighbors. A vital initiative has developed through these four congregations who on short notice answered a critical community need. 

Pastor Andrea Roske-Metcalfe of Grace Lutheran Church of Apple Valley  and others from the four honored churches.


Minneapolis Public Housing Authority opens its public housing Two-Bedroom Family Waitlist

Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) will open its public housing Two-Bedroom Family Waitlist—closed since 2010—from Thursday, June 1, 2017 through Saturday, June 3, 2017. The waitlist will subsequently open on the third Wednesday of each month beginning June 21, 2017, until further notice (along with waitlists for four- and five-bedroom units, which are presently open and will remain so). For details, click https://dk-media.s3.amazonaws.com/AA/AV/micah-org/downloads/324402/MPHA_Two-Bedroom_Family_Waitlist_-_Community_Announcement.pdf


Michael Stoops; director of organizing at the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), passed away on May 1

The Board and staff of the National Coalition for the Homeless and MICAH are heartbroken to share the passing of long-time organizer Michael Stoops. Michael passed away on May 1, 2017, due to illness incurred while recovering from a stroke. Click here for complete article by Sue Watlov Phillips, Executive Director of MICAH and Vice President of National Coalition For The Homeless.


MICAH 2017 Legislative Agenda (Bolded items- top priorities)

1. Ensure smaller culturally diverse organizations are funded through specific targeted set asides in an Equity Bill and language in appropriation bills prioritizes funding for diverse organizations to increase their capacity and to obtain State funding for Rental, Homeownership, and Homeless Programs including: Homeless Outreach, Prevention, Shelter, Youth Services, Transitional Housing and Supportive Housing.

2. Lead Safety Bill- Sen Hoffman and Rep. Clark are the chief authors. 

3. Increase State Resources for Housing: Comparable bill to the Common Sense Housing Investment Act which changes the Mortgage Interest Deduction into to a Tax credit. FEDERAL LEGISLATION: Common Sense Housing Investment Act The bill: Lowers the cap on the amount of a mortgage for which interest can be deducted from $1 million to $500,000, and allows home equity loans and second homes under the $500,000 cap. Converts the mortgage interest deduction to a 15% non-refundable mortgage interest tax credit.

a. Provides a tax break to an additional 15 Million low and moderate income homeowners who currently do not claim MID;
b. Provides $241 billion over 10 years to address pressing affordable rental housing needs, including homelessness, helping veterans, seniors, families with children, adults, and people with disabilities afford apartments and fighting poverty; and
c. Supports nearly 4 million jobs, generating $282 billion in local revenue and $53 billion in local tax revenue.

SUPPORT: 

4. Homes for All: See agenda here and here.

5. Accessibility: Expungement of Criminal Records and Unlawful Detainers (Second Chance) and Support Universal Housing designs. Restore the Vote for Felons who have completed their incarceration. 

6. Livable Incomes 

a. Double MFIP (public assistance grants) so families can afford housing. Increase public assistance for adults and unemployment benefits. GAAIN- Give Aid to All in NEED
b. Sick and safe leave, and paid time off.
c. Driver Licenses for Workers 

7. Education: Support legislation that creates excellent integrated educational opportunities for children and adults, including job training throughout the State.

8. Health Care: Accessible and affordable for everyone. 

9. Civil Rights Enforcement 

a. Increase funding to Minnesota Human Rights Department.
b. Fair Housing Testing (MN Housing and Met Council) Fair Lending Practices 

10. Transportation: Funding should ensure affordable housing along the transit line, replacement of demolished housing, protections from tax and rent increases. People and businesses employed to develop should be community people and businesses matching at least the racial demographics of the neighborhood or metro area, whichever is higher.



MICAH 2016 Legislative Success!!!

Thank you for your prayers, phone calls and visits this Session

Bills supported by MICAH that passed and were sent to the Governor for signature on Sunday:

In the Equity Bill - $35 Million Passed
MN Housing Finance Agency

  1. $250,000 Landlord Guarantee Fund Pilot (Risk Mitigation) in FHPAP(Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program)
  2. $3 million for first-time home buyers down payment closing cost assistance
  3. $500,000 for expansion of Family Stabilization Plan Program in the HOME Law Activities (Designated to Build Wealth)
  4. $500,000 FY 2017 $1 million FY2018-19 for homeownership capacity training- HOME Law Activities

DEED (Department employment and Economic Development)

  1. $1.5 Million in 2017 Latino Communities United in Service (CLUES) for expansion of culturally tailored programs that address employment and education skills gap. $1.5 Million 2018-19 Biennium.
  2. $2 Million FY 2017 split between Youthprise and Somalian Youth Program

In Jobs and Economic Development Bill:

  1. $500,000 in FY17 for rental assistance pilot for exploited women and children (SF311)
  2. $500,000 in FY17 for housing projects with training centers for jobs in high-growth areas (SF1909)
  3. $750,000 in FY17 for workforce and affordable homeownership program (SF3167)
  4. Changes to FHPAP (Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program)
    a. Change to FHPAP, under definition of families, raises the age to 24

    b. Change to FHPAP allowing tribes, or groups of tribes, to apply

Department of Human Rights 
$184,000 for creation of an office in Greater MN - St. Cloud. The Federal Government will provide some matching funds and bring the total to about $525,000. 

Department of Human Services

  1. Homeless Youth Act, $33,000 in FY17, and $2.9million in 18-19 biennium
  2. Safe Harbor, increases eligibility to age 24, $33,000 in FY17 and $1.5million in 18-19 biennium for DHS

.All Parks Alliance for Change (APAC): Relocation Trust Fund changes passed. This increases the benefits for the homeowner moving their manufactured home or buyout to 2016 costs/values. Minnesota has 180,000 manufactured home park residents.


 Settlement could alter how affordable housing is built throughout Twin Cities metro

By Peter Callaghan at MINNPOST 05/13/16

Somewhat quietly, the city councils of Minneapolis and St. Paul are approving a settlement of complaints that the two cities are violating federal fair housing law — an agreement that could result in broad changes to how the region builds affordable housing.

The Minneapolis City Council voted 10-2 Friday to approve the settlement of a legal complaint brought by the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH) alleging the cities failed to follow a federal requirement to “affirmatively further fair housing.” The requirement calls for governments that accept federal housing money to not only lessen factors that lead to segregated neighborhoods, but to take steps to foster integration more...



Farhio Khalif, MICAH board member and executive director of Voices of East African Women, along with other Muslim community leaders, met with law enforcement officials to discuss anxiety after terrorists attacks. 

By Stephen Montemayor , Star Tribune March 24, 2016 - 9:17 PM

 

Law enforcement officials and leaders of the Twin Cities Muslim community gathered Thursday to confront the anxiety that has arisen in the days following Tuesday’s terror attacks in Belgium and the high-profile rhetoric they have inspired. 

Plans for the meeting materialized shortly after Texas senator and GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz on Wednesday referenced Minneapolis’ Somali-American community as an example of where law enforcement efforts could be concentrated while doubling down on calls this week for authorities to be able to patrol Muslim communities. More here....






Are you in a housing crisis? If you are facing foreclosure, can't find a place to live, or have other tenant issues, check our list of links here.  MICAH does not directly help with these issues.

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