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Grants for accessible housing aired in committee

Deeqa Hussein, a mother of six, testifies March 3 before the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee in support of a bill that would provide home ownership grants for families with children with disabilities. Photo by Andrew VonBank

Families who have difficulty staying in rental housing due to the challenges of caring for a child with a disability may have the opportunity to receive assistance to own a home.

Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Mpls) sponsors HF2116, which would provide funds to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency for grants to organizations building, renovating and designing homes accessible for eligible families. The House Housing Finance and Policy Committee did not take action on the bill Monday and held questions from legislators for a later date.

Qualifying families would be those who have a child under 19 years old with a medically diagnosed disability and who have experienced unstable rental housing within a two-year period due to the child’s disability.

Deequa Hussein described some of the challenges Somali families with autistic children have experienced in rental housing. She said families have to deal with complaints from neighbors, broken appliances that sometimes remain unfixed due to the frequency of repairs needed and eviction. Owning a home, she said, would at least allow families to live in a place without the fear of eviction.

The City of Lakes Community Land Trust would also receive funds to provide affordable housing and financial assistance to families with low to moderate incomes.

The Senate companion is SF1838, sponsored by Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin). It awaits action by the Senate Health, Human Services and Housing Committee.


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