By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – State leaders have announced major initiatives to invest in affordable housing.

This comes after a study from the Metropolitan Council earlier this year that showed the metro was losing more affordable housing than it was adding.

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Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan was joined by officials with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to announce $5.3 million in funding for Minnesotans with disabilities to have access to affordable housing.

She said the cause was close to her heart, as her mother used vouchers to help pay rent growing up in St. Louis Park.

“Making sure that many more people will be connected to a safe place to live and will no longer need to utilize transit or any other unsafe and undignified locations as a place to lay their head,” Lt. Governor Flanagan said.

The funding will allow public housing agencies across Minnesota to award close to 600 vouchers for affordable housing. Agency officials say they will work with landlords to make sure they are giving equal opportunity to people looking for apartments or housing using the vouchers.

Twenty-year-old Eugene Ivy was homeless before he moved into his new St Paul apartment thanks to affordable housing.

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“I can actually do things that I want to do in life,” Ivy explained. “I can actually enjoy myself at home.”

Governor Tim Walz also spoke at a different event along with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

The Governor announced $254 million in affordable housing grants, calling it the largest single affordable housing investment in the state’s history.

“It’s the right place to go, it’s what Minnesotans believe across this state,” Gov. Walz said.

“Housing is a right,” added Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. “And thankfully right now that right is being put into action.”

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar is also invested in affordable housing.

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She introduced new legislation on Thursday that would invest $800 billion into affordable housing projects across the United States over the next decade.

Kate Raddatz