$16.1 million dollars going towards affordable housing in Olmsted County

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(ABC 6 News) – The COVID-19 pandemic left many people wondering if anyone, including the nation as a whole, would ever recover. But the federal American Rescue Plan, which was passed in March, was designed to provide "immediate and direct relief to families and workers impacted by the pandemic."

Olmsted County received a total of 31 million dollars. On Tuesday, the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners decided where half of the money will be going.

"Affordable housing has been an issue now in the county, in Rochester and Olmsted county for a long time. It’s becoming harder and harder for people to find a place to live," said Olmsted County Housing Director, Dave Dunn.

The board has decided to focus the $16.1 million on three areas: affordable rental housing, housing innovation and homeownership. More specifically, $10 million will be put into a five year investment plan to create one thousand affordable housing units in addition to new programs to create affordable homeownership opportunities and even buying a building to provide transitional housing for homeless people.

"We are growing at an exponential rate that other communities aren’t growing,” said Stephanie Podulke, the chair of the Olmsted County Board. “Long-term if we want people to work here, we have to make it possible for them to live here."

The board members say that the goal is to make housing a priority for the future of this region.

"When we look back in the next five to 10 years at the amount of housing we will be able to produce, a lot of what we do, we’ll come back and look at today as the start of that," said Dunn.

After such a difficult year, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.