Minnesota lawmakers propose rental voucher, free student meal programs

Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff
Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff

(St. Paul, MN) -- A pair of key issues are being discussed in the Twin Cities and the Minnesota legislative session marches on.

A proposed rental voucher program is aimed at slashing public housing wait lists.

Lawmakers in the Democrat-controlled House and Senate say the program would ensure low-income Minnesotans don't spend more than 30-percent of their income on rent. Officials say housing demand is far outstripping supply, that there is a significant racial gap in homeownership, and that the problem of homelessness is worsening.

The program would cost around one-point-seven billion dollars a year.

In the meantime, lawmakers are also considering a measure that would make free student meals standard in the state.

The proposal would require the Minnesota Department of Education to reimburse districts for the cost of serving breakfast and lunch to all students, regardless of family income. The move would essentially reinstate the pandemic-era federal program that paid for school meals.

School nutrition advocacy group Hunger Solutions says one in six students in Minnesota experience food insecurity.