Minnesota Housing Partnership Candidate Questionnaire (supported by Homes for All)
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Andrew Carlson
Legislative District: 50B
District Issues: How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?
Bloomington is a mature city that has a mix of single family, multi-family, and assisted living housing options. Affordable housing is increasingly becoming an issue and city and community leaders are working with stakeholders to find solutions.
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 continue to work with and support groups like Bloomington's Housing Coalition that advocate for affordable housing policies and projects. I will also encourage the use of MN Housing Finance Agency (HFA) programs that were created to make housing more affordable for Minnesotans.
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?
More Minnesotans would have access to housing that is affordable if their incomes were to increase. A substantial part of the problem of inadequate wages to support affordable housing is the gender pay gap. Women currently earn about 82¢ for every $1 earned by a man with similar qualifications and experience. This needs to change.
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?
MN Housing Finance Agency (HFA) has several programs that are specifically designed to help Minnesotans avoid homelessness. State Bonding dollars are also a means of reducing homelessness.
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?
I will ensure that HFA programs like Rehabilitation Loans, PARIF and the Housing Trust Fund continue to help seniors with their homing needs. Students with unstable housing have received direct attention from the State. In the 2017 legislative session, Gov. Dayton proposed the “Homework Starts with Home” initiative that seeks to help highly-mobile students find stable and affordable housing.
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 will promote homeownership in communities of color. In 2014, the DFL-led Legislature and Governor Dayton created the “Housing Opportunities Made Equitable” (HOME) program “to support closing the disparity gap in affordable homeownership for all communities of color and American Indians in Minnesota and increase housing opportunities for specific groups while closing the disparity gap that exists in Minnesota.
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 to reduce the administrative burdens, mitigate the perception of risk, and actively pursue incentive opportunities to increase the number of landlords who accept rental assistance vouchers.
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?
Dedicating a source of funds for affordable housing means that there is that much less in the General Fund for other areas including schools, nursing homes, roads and bridges. That being said, affordable housing is an important issue and dedicating a funding source for meeting housing needs is receiving more attention at the Legislature.