Minnesota Housing Partnership Candidate Questionnaire (supported by Homes for All)
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Lori Ann Clark
City/Town: Cannon Falls
Legislative District: 21A
District Issues: How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?
We have a shortage of housing and rental stock that is significant enough to be impacting people's ability and/or willingness to move into our district for jobs. Couple this with an already growing worker shortage and a childcare provider crisis in our towns, and one can see how this will negatively impact economic vitality of our families and communities for years to come.
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?
I will support bonding bills that provide tax credits and/or incentives to builders. I would look at creative ways to reuse public buildings to creating alternative housing options. I would encourage a review of our building and zoning regulations in an effort to address costs and expand creative housing opportunities.
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 can continue to expand the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund to support public-private partnerships to create affordable housing. As with the existing childcare crisis, partnerships with our large employers in our communities may also be a way to find solutions to address the lack of affordable housing. I also believe our communities need to be willing to review how their existing zoning and/or building regulations hinder our ability to creatively tackle this issue.
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?
Because the upfront costs are significantly lower than the back end costs of homelessness, I strongly support a wide variety of assistance programs (housing, transportation, mental health, etc) that keep people in their homes. This is smart use of our tax dollars because it costs us less overall and we can do more across all the public-private-nonprofit partnerships to work together to tackle this issue.
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?
We need to continue the public-private partnerships necessary to build sufficient affordable housing for our seniors and families with children. Tax credits and/or incentives to provide rental stability to families with children would pay off in dividends down the road. Building downtown housing options for seniors so they are close to amenities would free up housing stock for the next generation as well.
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?
We need to work to remove the systemic and institutional factors that are contributing to these numbers and enforce our existing laws against discrimination against people of color. To truly bridge the home ownership gap, tax credits and/or incentives could be considered to address the lack of financing for all people of color.
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?
Expand the marketing program to educate renters by connecting it to another critical program for renters and/or landlords to increase exposure.
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?
I do support additional funding for this critical need. As the CFO of an electronics manufacturing business for the last twenty years, I also understand the importance of being able to adjust and respond to a changing world. As such, I hesitate to support a dedicated source of funding as we must have the flexibility to fund any and all needs facing the legislature in any given year.