Somali Muslims at a town hall event in Minnesota.
The Minneapolis Housing Authority passed legislation this week that will allow migrants to skip their monthly rent in Minnesota when they travel back home to East Africa.
The move was sought by local East African immigrants.
Immigrants traveling for 30 to 90 days could apply for a hardship which will reduce their rent to $75 a month while they are gone.
The Star Tribune reported:
Public housing residents in Minneapolis will no longer need to pay their normal monthly rent when travel abroad erases their income, a change particularly sought by East African immigrants.
The board of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority approved this week reverting to its previous policy of collecting only minimal rent during extended absences. The change takes effect once approved by federal housing officials, which is expected by year’s end.
Abdi Warsame, a City Council member, told the board that the policy in place for the past five years works a particular hardship on elderly East Africans who must save for long periods if they want to visit their homelands. He said that many receive federal Supplemental Security Income, which is halted when the recipient is outside the United States.
Yet the policy required people to keep paying rent, which is income-based. Travelers gone for 30 to 90 days could apply for a hardship, which meant that they paid the minimum $75 monthly rent during their absence, but were required to make up the difference between that and their normal rent over the next year or two.