Legislative News - End of Session!                                 May 21, 2013 

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Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature Approve State Budget that Significantly Increases Funding to Address Homelessness!




Hearth Connection and the Homes for All Coalition are excited to report increases in state appropriations to affordable housing and homeless services!  The Legislature has passed the Health and Human Services budget (DHS) and the Minnesota Housing (MHFA) budget.  Homeless youth services, supportive services for long-term homeless households, rental assistance, and affordable housing production all saw increases this year.  More importantly, the increases were to the base funding levels within each agency--instead of "one time" money that will automatically end in two years. 


Thank you to all of our allies and supporters who called, wrote notes, emailed, or attended personal meeting with Legislators to make this success a reality!  We rely on your contributions and sincerely appreciate the time you take to be a voice to end homelessness in Minnesota!


The following is a specific breakdown of program areas and their enacted biennium budget levels (for 2014-2015):


HOUSING:  Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA)

   $20+ million added to base, $3 million one-time funding




Funding Levels



Family Homeless Prevention Assistance Fund (FHPAP)

$14.9 million


Challenge Fund

$13.9 million

$14.5 million

Housing Trust Fund

$19.1 million

$4.4 million

Rental Assistance for the Mentally Ill (Bridges)

$5.2 million


Preservation (PARIF)

$14.6 million

($6.2 million)

Rental Rehab Loans

$4.9 million

$1.3 million

Housing Rehab Loans- Single Family

Federally funded

$8.5 million

Homebuyer Education (HECAT)

$1.5 million



Capacity Building



Homeowner Assistance Fund

$1.6 million



Homes for All Totals


$21.2m + $3m one-time funds


SERVICES:  Department of Human Services (DHS)

   $7 million added to base



2012-2013   Funding Levels

2014-2015 Increases

Long-Term Homeless Supportive Services Fund


$9.9 million


$2 million

Transitional Housing


$5.9 million



Emergency Services Program





Homeless Youth Act




$4 million



$16.7 million


$7 million

Safe Harbor Act



$2.8 million*


*Safe Harbor has $1m from DHS, $1m from the Dept of Health, and $800k from Public Safety for a total of $2.8m.


Hearth Connection wishes to thank all Legislators who supported and worked to secure increased funding for housing and services to end homelessness in Minnesota.  We would like to call particular attention to the authors of bills supporting the Homes for All Coalition's legislative agenda; click here to see who they are.  If you have a moment, please send them an email or note to thank them for their leadership.


A news conference will be held tomorrow (5/22, 10AM) at the Capitol Room 125 to debrief and discuss the new $33 million investment in housing and service programs.  Mary Tingerthal (Commissioner of Minnesota Housing), Representative Isaacson, and others are expected to speak at the event.




Tax Deal Finalized


This legislative session, Governor Dayton and DFL majorities were committed to raising new revenue to close the budget deficit and make investments in education, public safety and economic development.  However, how to raise the revenue turned out to be a source of contention between the House, Senate and Governor.  While all parities supported raising income tax rates on top earners, they advocated different ways to get there.  Tobacco taxes were also supported by all sides, but again, at vastly different rates.  Beyond these similarities, the Senate supported expanding the sales tax base and lowering the rate, while the House backed increasing taxes on alcohol to raise revenue.  In addition, the House wanted an income tax surcharge on top earners to pay back the school shift more quickly.


After much wrangling, the parties reached an agreement to raise $2.1 billion in new revenue by:

  • Creating a new income tax bracket of 9.85% on individuals with a taxable income of $150,000 and married with $250,000 (raising $1.1 billion);
  • Closing corporate loopholes ($424 million);
  • Raising the tobacco tax $1.60 per pack ($407 million); and
  • Extending the sales tax to certain business transactions ($59 million).
Neither the income tax surcharge nor alcohol taxes were part of the final package, which can be found here.




Scaled-Back Bonding Bill Passes


With three hours to spare, the House and Senate agreed to a $176 million bonding bill which includes $131 million for the Capitol renovation and a new parking complex; $20 million for flood mitigation; $18 million for the veterans building, and $8 million for infrastructure to improve the quality of the state's drinking water. No additional dollars were provided for public housing rehabilitation or affordable housing bonds.


On Friday, House Capital Improvement Chair Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul) had attempted to pass an $800 million bonding package that would have invested in building projects all over the state, but it lacked sufficient Republican votes to pass.  Bonding bills require a 2/3 majority, and the bill only received 76 affirmative votes, five short of the total needed.




Additional Things of Interest


The following is a list of other program budget areas or policy changes that have been enacted this year that may be of some interest to Hearth Connection's community of supporters. The list was contributed in large part by NAMI of Minnesota.


Health Care

  • Expanding Medical Assistance eligibility to single adults with incomes up to 138% of federal poverty guidelines.
  • Continuing MinnesotaCare as the state's "basic health plan" for people up to 200% of federal poverty guidelines. Eliminating the $10,000 annual cap on hospital care, the $1,000 co-payment on hospital care and the four-month waiting period without insurance. Creating standardized sliding-scale premium rates for all MinnesotaCare enrollees based on income.
  • Allowing people to remain eligible for MinnesotaCare while they are in jail awaiting their case to be resolved.

Children's Mental Health

  • Increasing funding for school-linked mental health services by $7.434 million for 2014-2015.
  • Requiring case management services to be offered to young adults between ages 18-21 who have been receiving children's case management, and requiring that a transition plan be developed before discontinuing children's case management services.
  • Adding coverage for additional services under Medical Assistance such as family pyschoeducation, mental health treatment plan development and clinical care consultation.
  • Adding family peer specialists to the types of mental health practitioner that can be covered under a children's mental health provider. These are parents who have a child with a mental illness who undergo specialized training. 

Adult Mental Health

  • Allowing parenting skills to be covered under Adult Mental Health Rehabilitation Services (ARMHS).
  • Making people with schizoaffective disorder eligible for case management services.
  • Allowing community health clinics to be reimbursed when mental health services are provided on the same day as other health care services.

Minimum Wage


Despite last-minute negotiations, the Legislature did not raise the state's minimum wage. Previously, a bill in the House proposed bringing the minimum wage up from the current $6.15/hour to $9.50; the Senate proposed $7.75.  The minimum wage debate may be revisited in the next session.


TANF Benefit Levels  


  • The family cap is repealed beginning in 2015, allowing for increases in assistance when additional children are added.
  • The earned income disregard will increase to 50%, effectively raising the MFIP exit level from 115% FPG to 140% FPG effective July 2014.
  • All MFIP participants who are not in subsidized housing will receive a $110 monthly housing allowance effective July 2015.


Thank you again for contributing your time, energy and voices this session.  We look forward to future collaborative efforts with you and the Homes for All Coalition.


Please let us know if you have any questions by emailing richard@hearthconnection.org.  While the Legislature is adjourned, keep abreast with our work by visiting our website and reviewing our blog.  


Thank you, as always, for your commitment to ending homelessness in Minnesota.





Richard Hooks Wayman

Executive Director

Hearth Connection