Report Released on the Economic Development and Housing Challenge Program

The report from the Office of the Legislative Auditor cites positive aspects of the program in addressing local affordable housing needs, while also noting some opportunities for improvement.
(Published Feb 11, 2019)

The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) on Feb. 8 released an evaluation report on the Economic Development and Housing Challenge (EDHC) program, which for years has provided cities and their partners with funding to build and rehabilitate affordable rental and owner-occupied housing.

The OLA states in its report that the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) has generally done a good job of administering the program. OLA’s analysis of program years 2013 through 2017 noted that MHFA made 39 EDHC awards totaling $18 million each year.

Through stakeholder interviews, including interviews with city officials, the OLA found that a key aspect of the program continues to be its flexibility in funding proposals that meet locally identified housing needs.

—Read the full OLA report

Recommendations

In addition to citing the positive aspects of the program in addressing local affordable housing needs, the report also notes some opportunities for improvement. One recommendation was that MHFA engage with stakeholders to streamline the application process.

Cities interviewed by OLA noted that the complexity and cost of applying for EDHC funds creates barriers for some applicants. The report noted that this is especially true for new applicants and smaller communities.

MHFA Commissioner Jennifer Ho acknowledged that while MHFA does provide technical assistance for applicants, more can be done to make the application process less complex.

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