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Saint Paul, Minnesota – Today, State Representative Karen Clark (DFL – Minneapolis) and State Senator Scott Dibble (DFL – Minneapolis) will hold a “people’s hearing" in an effort to allow public testimony on a bill, HF 1886/SF 1521, that would provide a temporary moratorium on foreclosures. DFL Legislators scheduled the hearing after requests made to GOP leadership for a hearing were ignored or denied.
“For the past few years, so many of our community members have faced devastation from the terrible effects of our unstable housing market—the foreclosure of their homes,” said Rep. Clark. “It is a shame that we have not been granted a formal committee hearing.”
HF 1886/SF 1521 would put a freeze on foreclosures of owner-occupied properties for two years, with homeowners being required to pay either their current payment or 41% of their income during the moratorium, whichever is less. Additionally, it would allow renters to stay in their homes, should those who own the property face foreclosure. Renters would be required to pay a fair market rent to the current owner for two years after the bill takes effect.
DFL legislators stress that there is precedent for a law of this nature. During the Great Depression, Minnesota passed a law stating that during periods of economic emergency, mortgagers could extend the length of time to pay back their debts to lenders. Though its constitutionality was questioned, the United States Supreme Court ruled in 1934 that the law was constitutional given that Minnesota faced massive economic difficulties.
“When houses and apartments go empty, the effects are felt throughout neighborhoods. All housing values go down, local economies are negatively impacted, children's lives are destabilized, and property is often neglected," said Sen. Dibble. “Keeping people in their homes as we emerge out of this economic recession should be a top priority for all members of the legislature.”
Testimony at the “people’s hearing” will include personal accounts of foreclosure from Minnesotans across the state, along with testifiers from neighborhood coalitions, welfare advocacy groups, and union members.
“The purpose of today’s hearing is to provide a means for Minnesotans to tell their story—a story that unfortunately is too familiar for so many around the state,” said. Rep. Clark.
The “people’s hearing” will be held immediately following the press conference at 12:00 p.m. in Room 500S of the State Office Building.
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