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Viewpoint: Need for public housing funding remains high

Federal rental assistance is used by over 93,000 low-income households in Minnesota. Almost 20,000 of those rely on the Public Housing program. Public Housing is a government-funded program that provides rental housing to low-income households. Renters must pay 30 percent of their income for rent. The subsidy stays with the building if they move out.

When a family's housing costs make up more than half of their income, low-income families are at higher risk of ending up homeless. Statewide, 139,000 low-income households pay more than half their income for rent.

Southeastern Minnesota Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority owns and manages 110 Public Housing units in Wabasha, Goodhue and Dodge counties. So far this year, our agency has served 124 families. Almost 30 percent of those are elderly, and 33 percent have children. The average income of participants is $14251, which is below the extremely low-income limit for even a 1-person household.

One Public Housing resident states: "Living in SEMMCHRA Housing has allowed me to have a home for my daughter and myself after having to leave our home unexpectedly. (It) is also allowing me to rebuild my life without the pressures that come along with paying market rent. This program has really made a difference in my life. I don't plan to live in (Public) housing or any assisted housing forever, but it sure has been a big help and a stepping stone — much needed and appreciated. Thank you!"

As reported in the news, the current administration is proposing massive cuts to the Public Housing program. Citizens are urged to contact their congressmen and let them know the negative impact these cuts would make.

Those in need of assisted housing in the southeastern Minnesota area, can fill out an online application at www.semmchra.org, or call our office at 651-565-2638. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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