Minn. rent aid programs on hold over anticipated cutsby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota Housing announced a freeze Thursday on new admissions to some rental assistance programs as a reaction to anticipated budget cuts.
House and Senate proposals are at least $2 million below Gov. Mark Dayton's recommendation for the program.
Rental assistance programs help long-term homeless people move into housing. Participants typically pay 30 percent of their income towards rent. Rental vouchers make up the difference. The program last year assisted more than 2,100 households in 53 counties across the state.
Liz Kuoppala, executive director of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, said the proposed cuts mean that at least 300 households won't get rental assistance.
She said the rental assistance programs save the state money in the long run by keeping people from using expensive emergency services like "detox and police and all of the things that happen when we force people to live on the streets."
"When we take away their ability to get any kind of basic necessities of life, I don't know how it can get any worse than that," Kuoppala said.
The freeze on new rental assistance applications takes effect April 1.