Minnesota Housing Partnership Candidate Questionnaire (supported by Homes for All)
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Kenneth L. Bush
Legislative District: 25B
District Issues: How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?
Generally, I would characterize our housing crisis as very complicated. One of the most disappointing things is that hard working people cannot afford housing that work 40 hrs or more per week. Renters face climbing prices due to construction prices, Owners face issues based on rising taxes and this incudes seniors who live on a fixed income. We can do much more and our community understands that.
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?
Creating a market-oriented housing policy that allows housing supply to fit demand and encourages the creation affordable housing for all. I have seen this crisis as a real estate agent, homeowner, tenant, property manager and housing developer. In my officially capacity, I have served as an HRA commissioner and currently vice chairman of the Olmsted County planning commission. I will work with organizations like MHP, NAHRO, Rochester Foundation and others to collaborate with our regional partners to make sure our workforce can continue to thrive.
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?
I would start with Human Capital first. We need to invest in people and outcomes and not more programs that simply provide free housing with no equity in society. I would support and continue to preserve the Low Income Housing Tax Credit as well as Private Equity Bonds.
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?
This is a true issue and I wish to fully engage to help as I understand housing is healthcare. We need to look at the possibly that this could happen to anyone and I will work with organizations that have mission based priorities to improve lives and society by reducing utilization of hospitals, jails and emergency services in which will reduce cost on taxpayers and business. We can do better as some of these people just need someone to care about them and I will do just that by listing, learning and explore solutions to bring people from the streets to housing and a job that want to do better for themselves.
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 cannot continue down the road of neglecting our children and disrespecting our seniors. I will support efforts that put less tax burden on our elders and I would hold parents accountable for their children with the understanding of compassion. It is not a child’s fault to be hungry or homeless. I understand this because I have experienced all of the above.
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?
I believe a good Job and Education is the only way to fix this issue. We need to stop looking at things from the race prospective and we can make change not based on color of ones skin. I will listen, learn and propose working policy and not about racial disparities as we can do better by communicating why or how this came to be this way. It surprised me that in 2018 this still is a major problem and it can be solved with the right communication. As your State Representative you can count on me to find equity by collaborating within our Rochester community, regionally and by exploring options within our MN Legislative and Governor.
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?
I will work with HUD and expand collaboration with the public, private and non profit sectors to come up with solutions that are measurable.
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 if it can be sustainable into the future and not just a temporary fix.