Affordable housing push gives low-income Minnesota residents a lifeline

- At the site of the new Dorothy Day center in St. Paul, Minnesota workers aren't just building new apartment for the homeless--they're building lives.

Just west from there along University Avenue, Native American youth are about to build some lives of their own with a new 42-unit Ain Duh Yung Center, giving a group of low-income young people a cultural through-line along with a chance to get back on their feet.

For people like Norma Jean Husmoller, housing projects like these mean safety and culture that might not be available anywhere else. 

"If you don't have stable ground to stand on, it's hard to find yourself," Hulsmoller said. "It's hard to make sure everything comes together."

These new buildings are all a part of a push to provide more affordable housing in the state, with officials announcing Thursday 60 projects made possible by $126 million in state funding.

Beyond the more than 1,800 affordable housing units these projects are set to provide, lawmakers are also touting the hundreds of jobs created by the ambitious housing plan.

Both rental units and home ownership projects are on the docket in all corners of the state, with attention paid to community-building programs like the Ain Duh Yung Center that many say help recipients improve their lives.

"To have this housing unit is going to be amazing," Husmoller said. "You're going to be able to keep your culture, you're going to be able to keep own identity and you're going to have the resources to proceed in life and have a good outcome in the end."  

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