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Housing subsidies for mentally ill sought

published 3/10/2009
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Since 1993, funding has been provided for rent assistance to persons with serious and persistent mental illness through the Bridges rental housing program.

Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Mpls), HF522 would provide an additional $3.4 million to the Housing Finance Agency for the program, in addition to an estimated at $5.27 million in base funding for the next biennium. The additional funds would become part of ongoing base funding.

Subsidies would go to people with mental illness who are on Section 8 housing voucher waiting lists. Hayden said 54 percent of homeless adults report that they have been diagnosed with mental illness.

Nicole Jarousek said the Bridging program has allowed her to pay her bills, including rent, while she waits for Section 8 housing. After finding herself homeless four times in one year, she now lives close to relatives in a 700 square-foot apartment in Stillwater.

The House Housing Finance and Policy and Public Health Finance Division held the bill over for possible omnibus bill inclusion. There is no Senate companion.

- Mike Cook


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