Minnesota will spend $195 million for the construction or preservation of nearly 2,400 affordable apartments, townhouses and single-family houses across the state, Minnesota Housing announced Thursday.

The state housing finance agency announced at a virtual news conference that 73 projects across the state, including some that will serve the lowest-income Minnesotans, have either been selected to receive funds or are advancing for further consideration.

State leaders, including Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Leimaile Ho and Gov. Tim Walz, emphasized the urgent need for more housing. The state was in the throes of an affordable housing shortage at the start of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the need, they said.

"Home has never meant more as we seek stable places to live, raise families and shelter from the virus," Walz said.

The 73 projects, to be overseen by organizations ranging from Volunteers of America to the Red Lake Housing Finance Corporation and the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, will leverage an additional $334 million in private and local government resources and create more than 5,300 jobs, Leimaile Ho said.

The bulk of the money will go toward multifamily housing. Minnesota Housing is allocating $168 million to 33 projects that will either construct or preserve more than 2,000 apartments and townhouses.

The agency also selected forty projects that will create or preserve 400 affordable single-family homes in regions across the state, Leimaile Ho said. A $15.8 million allocation will help pay for new construction, down payment assistance, fixing up older homes to turn into affordable housing and helping existing homeowners make repairs to preserve homeownership.

Minnesota Housing is also funding 119 units to serve people with disabilities.

About a dozen projects are awaiting final approval due to the later-than-usual October passage of the state bonding bill, which included $100 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds, Leimaile Ho said.

State leaders highlighted the focus on equity in this round of funding.

"We have to be intentional in meeting the housing needs of Black, Indigenous and people of color in Minnesota who have been historically underserved in the housing market," Leimaile Ho said.

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said inclusion means looking at geography, income and race.

"This year I am pleased to report the selections are split approximately half-and-half between the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota," she said.

Nearly a third of units receiving funding will provide housing to people at or below 30% of area median income, she said.

Shannon Prather • 651-925-5037