Minnesota Housing Partnership Candidate Questionnaire (supported by Homes for All)
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Tim Burkhardt
Legislative District: 11B
District Issues: How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?
Housing survey of 2016 and 2018 shows a need for workforce hosing and affordable senior housing. Lots of people driving 45-50 miles one way to work in Hinckley. Sandstone and Mora also show similar housing shortages/needs.
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 push for a modification in the scoring system for LITC programs that help rural areas be more competitive. AND... Push for an increase in the minimum to $15 per hour.
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?
$15 per hour minimum wage would be helpful to the cause.
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?
I've supported the only homeless shelter in the district (Pine City) that works to provide shelter and transitional shelter for people in need. Life skills and transportation are part of what they provide to many clients - they should be held up as a model for other communities - helping people become self-sufficient and to improve their life situations by providing them needed support (shelter and more).
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?
Tax relief for seniors in MN is a high priority as cost of living goes up, while seniors incomes stay the same or shrink by measurable margins. Raising the minimum wage would provide some relief for students while transitional housing options should be explored as an additional mechanism of support.
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 offerings and developments should be colorblind - but they're not. In rural Minnesota we don't see it as a problem as there is little racial diversity. That means that we should all be concerned if we hope to reduce the disparities by welcoming the occasional POC that may wish to live and enjoy rural life in MN. Job opportunities plus affordable housing options are needed to accomplish that goal. (Industry + housing)
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?
Working with local/regional NP NGOs like Lakes & Pines CAC would be a good first step. They are in tune with housing needs as well as rehabbing and weatherizing existing housing, making them safe and more habitable.
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 I will support dedicated funding - I have seen firsthand the need and I have witnessed the possible support solutions when community members work in collaboration for a cause.