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Tackling the Issue of Affordable Housing

January 27, 2018 08:28 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Tina Smith has only been a U.S. senator for about three weeks but she is already actively looking at how to solve problems. Smith was in Rochester Saturday to talk about how to increase and maintain affordable housing in the area, "If you don't have a safe affordable place to live, then you can't go to work, you can't get your education, really nothing works in your life."

Some of the discussion included learning about the Rochester Area Foundation's new coalition and alliance, Steve Borchardt of the Rochester Area Foundation talked about the new initiative, "The major donors are part of what we call the coalition, leadership council, and they will decide how to spend their money to support projects that come in the door."

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Other city and county-wide issues, ideas, and statistics indicating where local government is currently sitting at with housing and where they are headed were also discussed said Dave Dunn of the Olmsted County HRA, "We only have 537 vouchers, we're able to serve fewer families...and at the end of the day, we may be able to serve 10 percent of families last year than we were two years ago."

 The chair of the Olmsted County Board, Sheila Kiscaden, added, "The county now has a housing levy, so we've spent a couple of years getting grounded in what it means to operate a housing authority, and how are we going to best use those tax revenues." 

Smith said she took away some good points and will carry what she has learned back to the legislature, "This community is needing and demanding a completely, not only more housing but a different kind of housing. I'm hoping that I can take the ideas that I heard today back to Washington, D.C. so that I can advocate for Rochester and strategies and ways that the federal government can help." 

While in the area, Smith also kicked off her statewide constituent services tour. It aims to provide assistance to Minnesotans who need help working with large government agencies.

 


Credits

Elise Romas

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