$1 billion in state funding may help Duluth housing organization
DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - As part of this spring’s legislative session, Minnesota’s governor signed $1 billion omnibus housing bill into law.
In Duluth, leaders with the American Indian Community Housing Organization, or AICHO, are excited about many aspects of the bill.
The legislation aims to build more homes and reduce homeowner disparities, but that may be just the beginning.
“It’s like a huge, a huge victory, and it’s much needed, and it’s going to help us catch up from years when we’ve not had enough resources,” said LeAnn Littlewolf, Executive Director for AICHO.
The housing investment bill will provide $1 billion to address many aspects of housing, homelessness, and more.
Littlewolf said once funding from that bill becomes available, they already have projects in the works it can help.
“We have Dabinoo’Igan domestic violence, emergency shelter. It’s been 10 beds, and we’re working on expanding into double the beds,” Littlewolf said.
The bill allocates close to $95 million for homelessness prevention and around $100 million through the Pathways Home Act to provide emergency services and build new shelters.
Northland Representative Alicia Kozlowski co-authored the legislation.
“We set out on a mission to make sure that we house and feed our relatives. We know that shelter saves lives,” said Kozlowski, a DFLer representing District 8B.
According to Kozlowski, the money will help organizations like AICHO keep their doors open and deliver services to some of the community’s most vulnerable.
“The size of the grants will hopefully alleviate a lot of the burden and a lot of the stress and worry about where the dollars are going to come from,” said Kozlowski.
Addressing homelessness is just one aspect of the bill, there is also rental assistance and aid to help people hop on the property ladder.
The bill is allocating $200 million in down payment assistance programs with $150 million of that funding available to help give first-generation buyers a chance to purchase a home.
According to Littlewolf, the work that was done in St. Paul will have a long-range impact in the Northland.
“What the governor and what the legislature has done is a really huge investment in our community,” said Littlewolf.
Leaders with AICHO don’t know specifically how much money they’ll receive yet, but most likely the money will go to state agencies, then they will apply for the funding through those organizations.
Littlewolf says she is expecting funds to become available sometime within the next year to year and a half.
For more information about the housing investment bill, click here.
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