GMNP testifies on the need for workforce housing in Greater Minnesota

Jennifer Libby, who works for Daikin Applied and is a member of the GMNP board, talks about the need for more workforce housing at a Senate committee hearing on Monday.

Jennifer Libby, who works for Daikin Applied and is a member of the GMNP board, talks about the need for more workforce housing at a Senate committee hearing on Monday.

On Monday, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development & Housing Finance heard SF 908, authored by Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake).

This bill is very similar to the GMNP’s workforce housing tax credit proposal, except that it is in the form of a grant program rather than a tax credit. The GMNP is  still pursuing the tax credit (and it remains our top priority), but the idea behind SF 908 is to provide an alternative manner for workforce housing funding. The bill is designed to be an addition to the existing Minnesota Housing Finance Authority’s Economic Development Challenge Grant program. SF 908 would add $6.6 million per year for Greater Minnesota workforce housing to whatever amount the committee chooses to fund the regular Challenge Grant Program.

Jennifer Libby, who works for Daikin Applied in Owatonna and is a GMNP Board member, did an outstanding job testifying before the committee on need for funding for workforce housing in Greater Minnesota. Legislators often respond better to what they refer to as “real people” as opposed to staff or lobbyists, so thank you Jennifer!

In other workforce housing news, a prime example of why Greater Minnesota needs more housing for low-income workers is happening in Thief River Falls. Digi-Key, which is headquartered in the city, wants to pursue a massive business expansion. However, the lack of workforce housing is an obstacle that could potentially lead the expansion to be done elsewhere, including possibly in North Dakota. You can read the Twin Cities Business article on the Digi-Key expansion here.