Minnesota Housing Partnership Candidate Questionnaire (supported by Homes for All)
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Jamie Long
Legislative District: 61B
District Issues: How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?
I frequently hear from District 61B residents about their struggles with housing, from seniors who are having difficulty aging in place due to increased housing costs, to young renters who are having difficulty finding affordable options. Housing is a pressing issue in Minneapolis that needs urgent attention.
Availability of Affordable Housing: More than 25% of households in Minnesota pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing, meaning they must sacrifice in other areas like food and medicine to make ends meet. What steps will you take to encourage the production of more affordable homes?
We must greatly increase our investment as a state in additional affordable housing options. I applaud the work the Homes for All Coalition has done to push for substantial bonding investment, and supported the call this year for $140B in bonding for affordable rental housing and improving the state’s public housing. I also support changing state law to free up Minnesota cities to pursue innovative approaches like inclusionary zoning, which have seen real success in other cities.
Workers: A full-time minimum wage worker cannot afford a one-bedroom apartment in any county in Minnesota — and many of the fastest growing jobs are in low-wage industries. What investments or policy would you champion to address the growing gap between what workers can afford and housing costs?
We must stand up for collective bargaining, help workers have a predictable work schedule, protect them from wage theft, and raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour statewide over time so no one working full time is living in poverty. The U.S. is the only high-income country that doesn’t require paid family and medical leave, or earned sick and safe time. We must extend these protections to Minnesota’s families, as well as fully fund access to affordable child care for all Minnesotans.
Homelessness: A lack of affordable housing options is one of the top reasons for homelessness, for individuals or families. What will you do to end homelessness in Minnesota?
One option to help end homelessness is to continue to invest in programs like Hennepin Health, which take a holistic approach to helping homeless individuals with not only housing but also health care, transportation, and other interrelated needs. We must also simply invest more in creating available affordable housing, particularly targeted to very low AMI households.
Seniors and children: More than half of senior renters and more than 1 in 4 senior homeowners pay more than they can afford for housing. Meanwhile, children without stable, affordable housing have lower educational and health outcomes. What will you do to ensure housing policy and resources support Minnesota's seniors and students?
For seniors, I believe we need to shift some of the burden away from property taxes that can be difficult for those on a fixed income and toward progressive taxes like income tax. This can be done through increasing Local Government Aid to relieve some of the burden on cities. For children, I support housing counseling and targeted services for families in school to help them stay in their school throughout the year.
Racial Disparities: Minnesota's racial disparities in housing are among the worst in the nation, for renters and homeowners. For instance, 22 percent of Black households are homeowners, compared to 76 percent of white households. How will you reduce the racial homeownership gap and other disparities in housing for households of color?
Housing discrimination is real and still occurs. We must strongly enforce laws against racial discrimination in housing. We must also help households of color build wealth, both by getting access to first time home buyer support but also through good paying jobs that allow families to save.
Rental Stability: Rental assistance is proven to reduce homelessness, housing instability, and overcrowding, but 75% of residents who qualify for rental assistance do not receive this limited resource. What will you do to expand access to housing assistance to every household that needs it?
The Section 8 program is grossly underfunded. If the federal government will not step up to fully fund the program, I support Minnesota creating a rental assistance program of its own that fully meets the need.
Funding: We cannot meet our growing, statewide housing needs without significant additional resources. Will you support a dedicated source of funding for affordable housing? Why or why not?
Yes. Affordable housing is a critical need that deserves to be fully funded.