MICAH Legislative Success!!!
updated 5-24-16

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:
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) "an organization that receives one time appropriation is not eligible for the competitive grant." said Chair Garofalo.
  4. $500,000 for homeownership capacity training in the 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

Tax Bill
Working Family Credit: $49 million expansion of the Working Family Tax Credit. This expansion provides an important income boost to about 386,000 Minnesota families and individuals with modest incomes across the state, and provides the largest benefits to the most struggling families.

 Bills Signed into Law

SF 2555 Granny Pods signed into Law by the Governor 5-12-16.Provides Immediate and Short term housing options for seniors with their families (6 months with potential extension of 6 months)  

We are waiting to hear what the plan is by the Governor and leadership.
In the last hour of the regular Legislative Session the House included $45 Million in their bonding for housing (1/2 Governor's request and about 1/3 of Homes for All request). That bill failed. 

Thank you for your advocacy last week- the House went from $0 in their bonding bill for housing on Thursday to $45 million Sunday night!

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...

Frequently Asked Questions about affordable housing, like: What is it? Here are the answers courtesy of the Minnesota Housing Partnership

How the Other Fifth Lives, New York Times
Thomas B. Edsall, APRIL 27, 2016


With homelessness on the rise, Dakota County searches for solutions
Needs are rising despite a dip in statewide figures.
By Emma Nelson, Star Tribune April 23, 2016 — 6:14pm

Deante Brown, left, Yana Miller, J.D. (last name withheld) and Stephen Rose relaxed at the picnic shelter at Akin Riverside Park in Anoka last week. The four had just left a youth drop-in center


Homelessness and Affordable Housing topic of Presidential race.

Senator Bernie Sanders has released a comprehensive plan to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness and to move our country in the direction to ensure every one has a HOME https://berniesanders.com/issues/fighting-for-affo...

Secretary Clinton is also began talking about a plan too.  http://www.nlihc.org/article/hillary-clinton-relea... and http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36295-hillary-...

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....

Too Much Metal and Lead in Air Near North Mpls. Neighborhood 

MICAH housing advocate, Ticiea Fletcher, speaks out about the danger of lead poisoning in our community in this KSTP 5 Eyewitness News segment. 

Please call your legislators to ask for the support of SF 1344 and HF 1398. The bill addresses lead safety issues in our homes.

$7,000 grant from Hugh J Anderson Foundation

On behalf of the MICAH Board of Directors, MICAH NE Chapter, Staff and Volunteers, we want to express our sincere appreciation for the grant of $7,000.00 from the Hugh J Andersen to support our MICAH NE. Metro Chapter work.

We are excited about the growth of our NE Chapter work. We had our first bus tour in 2015! Their grant in 2015 helped us to take 30 policy makers, providers, people impacted by the housing crisis and MICAH NE chapter leaders on a tour to see many of the affordable housing development successes in our community. In our recent bi-partisan Legislative Breakfast forum, we discussed the need for more investment in integrated affordable housing opportunities throughout our communities and resources to prevent and assist people who are experiencing homelessness. We plan to hold similar events again in 2016. Also, the attendance at our MICAH NE monthly meetings has doubled since last year.

MICAH Cautiously Optimistic About Wilder‘s 2015 Homeless Research Results

Wilder’s 2015 Homeless Report indicates a 9% decrease in homelessness. http://mnhomeless.org/minnesota-homeless-study/hom... While this sounds great on the surface, MICAH is concerned that there are a number of factors missing from the research that impact the actual numbers of people experiencing homelessness.

Some of these factors include:

  • decreased funding to shelters and transitional housing, closing some and changing their services to no longer include participants in the counts
  • faith based services refusing to accept funding and their participants no longer being counted
  • growing numbers of seniors being priced out of housing
  • investors from outside Minnesota buying properties and converting them to market prices, displacing residents relying on subsidies or in weaker financial positions

In addition, MICAH is concerned by continued issues of segregation and discrimination. The costs to families, seniors, and to all individuals who are displaced, and to us as tax payers, is unacceptable, as is the cost of having additional people forced into experiencing homelessness due to the tight rental market. Wilder’s research is encouraging, but we must all remain vigilant that the actual numbers of those experiencing homelessness are being reduced, and not hidden by changes in the ways that they are counted.

Hundreds of families could be forced out of Meadowbrook Manor in St. Louis Park
As upgrade begins, leaders and families prepare for change.
By John Reinan Star Tribune March 23, 2016 — 8:43pm 

Hundreds of families could be forced out of affordable housing in St. Louis Park, as the new owner of one of the Twin Cities’ largest apartment complexes begins an upgrade of sprawling Meadowbrook Manor. 

New lease agreements are going out to some 350 households, with rent increases of $100 to $125 a month. Residents must undergo a criminal record check and prove they have income of at least 2½ times the monthly rent. About two-thirds of the residents at the 551-unit complex are on month-to-month leases.  More here....

The Minnesota legislature is in session!

MICAH staff and leaders are at the Capital, advocating for affordable housing and related issues. What is this about? See MICAH 2016 Minnesota Legislative Agenda here.

US HUD Secretary Visits Minneapolis to Discuss Affordable Housing, Economic Opportunity with MICAH and other local leaders

To quote Sue Watlov Phillips, MICAH Executive Director: Friday’s meeting, with HUD Secretary Castro, with Mayors across the metro area, County Commissioners, MHFA Commissioner, Philanthropic and Regional leaders, MICAH, people impacted by housing crisis and homelessness, and the Community, was an incredible experience of coming together as a community, listening to each other, agreeing to work together and address impediments to fair housing through mutually agreed upon strategies.


KSTP Jennie Lissarrague 3/4/16 Full Article

Castro’s visit to Minneapolis is the latest stop on HUD’s Prosperity Playbook Community Tour, which kicked off in February in Kansas City, Missouri...
“I’m very proud of a lot of the work that’s happening here in the Twin Cities and Minneapolis area, so today we’re going to talk about some of that and also how we can increase affordable housing communities throughout the area,” Castro said at the event.

We need your Help!

Use the 2016 Presidential Election to make Ending Homelessness a national priority. Click http://goo.gl/v66BBw to see the Kids 4 Kids Sake video to take action and directly contact the Presidential Candidates. Send them the message: End Homelessness and support HR1662 Common Sense Housing Investment Act.

Homelessness four decades and growing,
this is the longest episode of growing homelessness in the History of the United States

Sue Watlov Phillips
Executive Director, MICAH

Many of us, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, providing services people to experiencing homelessness warned our political leaders and faith community that if we didn’t make the structural changes, we would be in the mess we are in today (more).
On November 29, 2015, The Washington Post ran an editorial on the mortgage interest deduction, citing the National Low Income Housing Coalition's new report on the rarity of mortgages over $500,000 (just 5% of all mortgages nationwide) (see: http://nlihc.org/research/rare-occurrence), and supporting both lowering the portion of a mortgage eligible for tax relief down to $500K from $1 million and changing the deduction to a 15% tax credit. See editorial 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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