Senator Smith knows that without a safe, affordable place to live, nothing else in your life works – not your job, your health, your family, or your education.
All Minnesotans deserve access to safe, secure, and stable housing, which is why Sen. Smith is committed to addressing the affordable housing crisis affecting people in communities across the state. Unstable and unsafe housing conditions often upend young people’s ability to learn in school, prevent parents from finding and holding jobs capable of supporting their family, and have long-lasting, negative mental and physical health impacts. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the severity of the housing affordability crisis, making an already dire situation worse. To address this, Sen. Smith helped pass the American Rescue Plan in 2021, which provided billions of dollars in emergency rental assistance, homeowner assistance and housing vouchers to keep people sheltered and healthy. She also helped pass the CARES Act in 2020, which provided critical rental assistance to families in need.
Both the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan provided unprecedented but temporary assistance. There’s more work needed to put permanent measures in place, and Sen. Smith is still fighting. As chair of the Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development, she’s working to address homelessness, boost the supply of housing, invest in rural and senior housing, and eliminate home health and safety hazards.
While the lack of quality, affordable housing affects everyone. Sen. Smith understands that housing insecurity hits some communities harder than others. Renters are struggling to find units they can afford, homeownership is increasingly out of reach, and homelessness has been on the rise. Black and Indigenous individuals, and other people of color in Minnesota, as well as seniors and veterans, too often bear the brunt of these challenges. As a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Sen. Smith has been a champion for addressing the housing inequities that Native Americans and Tribal Nations face. In 2020, two of her bills related to Native housing became law: the Tribal Access to Homeless Assistance Act and the Native American Housing Affordability Act, which make it easier for Tribes to access funds to combat homelessness and secure mortgages on trust lands, respectively.
As we look to the future, Sen. Smith recognizes the importance of supporting improvements in federal housing programs like USDA’s Rural Housing Service, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, and the Housing Trust Fund. As a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Sen. Smith has introduced legislation to improve fire safety in homes, support homebuyers in Native communities, and address the legacy of housing discrimination. She will continue to fight for measures like these until they become law because everyone deserves a safe, affordable place to live.
Smith Joins Senate Leaders Urging Biden to Address Our Nation’s Affordable Housing Crisis
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), Chair of the Senate Banking and Housing Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development joined Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and 15 Senate Committee Chairs in a letter to President Biden requesting that the federal government utilize a “whole-of-government” approach to address our nation’s housing needs. “Our nation’s housing is an essential piece of our infrastructure, but it is a sector that remains in crisis,” wrote the Senators. “With the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act, we took decisive steps to address many of our nation’s infrastructure deficiencies. However, more must be done to address the challenges facing the housing sector, where lagging production coupled with aging housing stock are making housing more expensive and unable to meet the needs of all Americans.” As Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development, Smith has held multiple hearings aimed at improving housing programs. Last September, Smith led a hearing on ways to improve the availability of rural housing, help keep rural seniors afford their homes, and reduce red tape for home owners and renters. In May of 2022, Smith chaired a hearing with Xochitl Torres Small, Under Secretary for Rural Development, about which aspects of the USDA’s Rural Housing Service programs are functioning well and which areas should be changed or reformed. She has also supported legislation to increase access to safe and affordable housing including the bipartisan Choice in Affordable Housing Act. In 2020, two of her
U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Colleagues Re-Introduce Bill to Expand Affordable Housing Access for Low-Income Families
WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development, joined a group of five Senate colleagues in re-introducing legislation to improve the federal government’s largest rental assistance program. The bipartisan Choice in Affordable Housing Act would make it easier to access Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV), also known as Section 8 vouchers, and attract and retain landlords to the program. As a result, low-income families will have increased housing choices and improved access to high-opportunity neighborhoods. The bill is led by Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and is cosponsored in the Senate by Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). The bill has been introduced in the House by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) “Without access to a safe, affordable place to live, it’s nearly impossible to find a job, manage your health, or engage with your community,” said Senator Smith. “But right now, virtually every Minnesota community has a shortage of quality, affordable housing. That’s deeply troubling. This bipartisan legislation would help increase affordable housing options in communities across the country. I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this bill passed.” “From my years serving Delaware as County Executive and Council President, I’ve seen firsthand the positive, life-changing impact that access to a decent, safe, affordable home can have for those trying to provide for their family,” said Senator Coons. “That’s why Senator Cramer and
U.S. Senator Tina Smith Announces Significant Federal Funding for Tribal Nations and the Native Community in the Twin Cities
WASHINGTON D.C. [1/13/23] –– U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced that she helped secure over $8.6 million for Minnesota Tribal Nations and communities in the Twin Cities metro area. These funds will support the Lower Sioux Indian Community, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the Prairie Island Indian Community, the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, and the Native American Community Clinic. Senator Klobuchar also worked to secure this funding. “For too long, Native communities have experienced negative impacts of federal underinvestment and underfunding of critical services. I’m proud to have worked with Tribal leaders to help
Klobuchar, Smith Secure Significant Federal Funding for Local Projects Benefiting Duluth and North Shore, Including Investments in Aerial Lift Bridge
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that they have secured significant federal funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 federal budget to support local projects benefiting Duluth and the North Shore. These projects will enable critical infrastructure improvements, including modernizing the Aerial Lift Bridge, while expanding housing opportunities and workforce development programs in sectors facing critical shortages. “From improving the Aerial Lift Bridges to helping students pursue medical training programs, these projects will address key issues impacting Minnesotans on a daily basis. I am proud to have worked with local leaders to secure these
U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Colleagues Call for Review of Realty Company’s Deceptive Listing Agreements
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Urban Development, along with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) requesting a review of real estate brokerage firms’ use of exclusive listing agreements. The letter follows several reports of companies like MV Realty misleading families into entering 40-year exclusive listing agreements, which can make it difficult for homeowners to refinance and often result in them losing out on up to three percent of their home’s value when
Senator Smith, Colleagues Question RealPage CEO on Role in Exacerbating Housing Inflation
Washington D.C. – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chair of the Senate Housing, Transportation and Community Development Subcommittee, Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to RealPage CEO Dana Jones, expressing concern about RealPage’s algorithmic pricing software, and its role in driving rising rents across the country. This letter follows reporting indicating that the software, YieldStar, may push affordable housing for families further out of reach by “artificially inflating rents and stifling competition,” creating a rent-hike race to the top. According to a ProPublica investigation, YieldStar, a “software that uses a mysterious algorithm