Senator Tina Smith announces changes in housing policies

Senator Tina Smith has introduced legislation that would change some housing policies in rural communities.
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 6:12 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KEYC) - A common topic of discussion over the past several years, the housing market continues to be difficult for many buyers and renters to navigate.

Senator Tina Smith, alongside Republican senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota, has introduced legislation to address these housing difficulties.

Smith says that the bill aims to modernize old policies and procedures in order to lower the hurdle of navigating the market, particularly in rural communities.

“It’s very important that the USDA programs that support those mortgages can be kept in place and can be just made to work better so a local community bank can work better with a homeowner, to make improvements to their home and that’s partly what this legislation will do,” explained Sen. Smith

The USDA classifies the greater Mankato area as a rural community, and the changes would affect communities around Southern Minnesota.

This comes as Mankato is in the midst of various housing projects, including a recently announced apartment project that would build two buildings housing 114 apartments near the North Star Bridge.

That project is currently awaiting approval by the city.

Senator Smith says that affordable housing remains a priority for communities across Minnesota.

“We have a mismatch,” said Sen. Smith. “There are many more people that are looking for apartments that they can afford than there are apartments on the market, and this is a problem everywhere across Minnesota, not just in the big cities but also in rural communities.”