Minnesota Housing Partnership Candidate Questionnaire (supported by Homes for All)
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Maxwell Kaufman
Legislative District: 22A
District Issues: How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?
In general there is a housing shortage in Southwest Minnesota in addition to a shortage of affordable housing.
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?
One possibility is to free up land for affordable housing development that is near opportunity. When affordable homes are located at the outskirts of towns, this can often reinforce poverty rather than alleviate it. Energy efficiency can also greatly reduce the cost of maintaining a home, so encouraging the use of energy efficient appliances and building practices along with renewable energy sources can reduce the cost of housing.
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?
Raising the minimum wage to a living wage is necessary if we are to ensure that minimum wage workers are able to afford basic necessities including, but not limited to housing.
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?
Again, increasing affordable housing infrastructure is necessary, especially in areas that are near economic opportunity. I believe that income-integrated communities are key to ending wealth segregation and income inequality as well as access to affordable housing.
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?
Policies and resources that allow aging in place are necessary to ensure our senior citizens can stay in their homes for as long as possible. Additionally ensuring that families have access to the services needed for stable housing is necessary.
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?
The disparities between asset ownership between White and Black households stem from historically racist policies that prevented freed slaves from obtaining reparations for their enslavement and disallowed them from obtaining property in the same ways White settlers did. We as a society cannot adequately address the racial gap in wealth and asset ownership without first facing the lasting legacy of enslavement. Until then, we can work to increase our efforts to connect Black households to the necessary homeownership resources.
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?
Expanding rental assistance would likely require additional taxpayer funding. If there is a way to allocate existing funds to rental assistance, I would support this. Support for any additional tax-based funding would always need to be a conversation with constituents.
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?
There is, of course, no free funding source and all funding sources must come from taxpayers. If this source of funding is something that will both benefit Southwest Minnesotans and is something they as taxpayers will support, then it is something I will support.