Reps. Paul Marquart, D-Dilworth, and Ben Lien, D-Moorhead: We need your help and commitment to affordable housing before the 2019 legislative session ends.

According to a report from the Minnesota Housing Partnership, the west central area of Minnesota has the highest percentage of renters (one in four renter households) who pay more than half of their monthly income on housing. In Clay and Douglas Counties, 61 percent and 67 percent of senior renters pay more than they can afford for rent, some of the highest rates of seniors with cost burden in Minnesota. And, Stevens and Clay Counties rank first and second in the state in terms of cost-burdened renters. Simply put, we need more homes built that are affordable to working families

In order to truly level the playing field, families need safe, stable housing that they can afford. Without it, children do not perform at the same level as their peers. Employers can’t fill jobs, impacting their ability to stay in business and contribute to the economic vitality of the region.

Our region and our state need immediate and bold action on housing. Solutions have been proposed at the state legislature for affordable housing, including bonding, appropriations and the Affordable Housing Tax Credit.

Expanding affordable housing is a bipartisan issue. It’s an issue that the private and public sectors are paying attention to. It’s an issue me and my neighbors are paying attention to.

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I urge legislative leaders not to walk away from this session without robust investments in affordable housing.