Housing

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.

Latest Releases

The Affordable Housing and Homeownership Protection Act Would Tackle Housing Crisis by Creating Millions More Homes and Helping Main Street Compete with Wall Street

WASHINGTON, DC – As the nation’s housing shortage pushes home prices and rents to historic levels, a new Senate bill would provide tens of billions of dollars to help create millions of new homes for low-income Americans. U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Jack Reed (D-RI)and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) are teaming up with several colleagues to introduce the Affordable Housing and Homeownership Protection Act (S. 3673).  This bill would generate up to $50 billion over ten years to help build and preserve approximately 3 million affordable housing units nationwide.  The bill would be fully paid for through a transfer tax on large investors who profit by purchasing sixteen single-family homes or more. Driven by a shortage of as many as 6.8 million homes nationwide, homes prices have surged 39% and rents 31% over the last four years, according to the National Association of Realtors and Zillow. Higher rents and fewer opportunities for homeownership are devastating for millions of families.  As housing costs skyrocket, more households are priced out of homeownership, while renters have less to spend on food, clothing, and other everyday necessities. Low-income Americans are particularly strained – the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates 73% of extremely low-income households spend more than half their income on housing. Unsurprisingly, homelessness has risen in line with housing prices and is up 15% since 2019. Unfortunately, federal investments in low-income housing are insufficient to solve this affordability crisis. Indeed, researchers at Harvard University found that the three largest federal housing programs serve nearly

Senators Smith, Lummis Seek Key Clarifications to Address Native American and Rural Homelessness, Overcrowding

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) sent a letter to Secretary Marcia Fudge urging the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help address homelessness in Native and rural communities and to provide clarity on the federal definition of homelessness. The Senators are the Chair and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development. The letter follows a bipartisan hearing led by Smith and Lummis on the  “State of Native American Housing” where witnesses described the severe homelessness and overcrowding issues facing rural and Native American communities.  “The stories we heard at our hearing are not isolated examples.  Many Native and rural communities officially report low rates of sheltered and unsheltered homelessness, but have high rates of doubling up and overcrowding,” wrote the Senators. “Doubling up and overcrowding are likely more prevalent in rural communities that have fewer emergency shelter options and limited transportation options, so people struggle to get to the shelters that do exist.  Studies confirm that some of the highest rates of overcrowding are experienced by people who identify as American Indian or Alaska Native and on tribal lands. Although these situations differ from the ways homelessness is often found in non-Native and non-rural communities, we believe they warrant close attention.” Witness testimony described how some individuals are living in “fish houses” or “ice shanties,” in the face of not being able to find a safe, secure and affordable place to live.  Witnesses shared that Native families

Senators Smith, Shaheen Reintroduce Legislation to Protect Access to Affordable Housing for Families in Rural Areas

[Washington, DC] – This week, U.S. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reintroduced legislation to ensure that thousands of low-income tenants in rural areas are able to maintain access to safe and affordable housing. The Strategy and Investment in Rural Housing Preservation Act would protect access to affordable housing for families in rural areas that are often elderly or disabled, who are at risk of losing rental assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Service (RHS).    “Without access to housing, nothing else in your life works. Not your job, your health, your education or your

Senators Smith, Rounds Unveil Major Bipartisan Package to Modernize and Update Rural Housing Programs

Washington [5.2.23] – This week, Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) introduced significant bipartisan legislation to improve federal rural housing programs, cut red tape, and strengthen the supply of affordable housing. The legislation would represent the most significant Rural Housing Service reforms years. “Without a safe, affordable place to live, nothing else in your life works. Not your job, not your education, not your health,” said Senator Smith. “We know that the housing crisis is hurting communities across the country, and the problem is particularly acute in rural places. This legislation is the direct result of bipartisan hearings

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

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

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