Gov. Mark Dayton announced Thursday the creation of a large task force to examine and make recommendations on affordable housing, calling it a "persistent crisis" for Minnesota families.
The nonpartisan Governor's Task Force on Housing will make recommendations by July 31 to include specific policy proposals and actions that can be taken by the executive and legislative branches of state government and the private sector "to improve housing stability in the state," a news release said.
It will be co-chaired by Jeanne Crain, chief executive of Bremer Financial Corp., and Acooa Ellis, director of social justice advocacy for Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
In his remarks at a news conference, Dayton said that wages of lower- and middle-income people have remained stagnant or declined in real dollars while rental housing costs have gone up.
"Affordable housing has not kept pace," the governor said. "The result is more and more people and their families are in crisis situations."
Dayton is about to enter the eighth and final year of his administration in 2018. He said that in looking back, he asked himself, "Why didn't I do this seven years ago? That's my regret."
"But we're doing it now," he added.
The 15-member task force will include public officials and representatives from business and nonprofits as well as a public advocacy group. The panel also includes 13 ex officio members.
"Minnesota has a strong housing finance system, but we cannot build our way out of the current crisis," said Mary Tingerthal, commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, in a statement.
She said the task force "will increase our understanding of the state's housing supply and deliver strategies to preserve existing affordable homes and create the new housing needed."