Minnesota Housing Partnership Candidate Questionnaire (supported by Homes for All)
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Leon Lillie
City/Town: North St. Paul
Legislative District: 43B
District Issues: How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?
Our area is a very varied district. We have some folks that are doing well in todays economic times. We also have others that continue to struggle. There is many options for affordable housing. Many starter homes and rentals in homes or multifamily options. I know of many multi housing options in the works for next few years. Oakdale and North St. Paul will be having huge projects in next few years to add to housing stock options.
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 have been honored to serve on the Capital Investment Committee the last few session. We as a state have tried to add the affordable housing mix. Have helped with this and voted for rent support and tax breaks for renters.
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?
Work force housing here in our area and state wide is a on going problem. We have invested in workforce housing from Thief River Falls to the Metro. Have passed robust bills-But need is great. House DFL caucus has been leaders on pushing for investment in Workforce and Housing. Me included.
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 support investments in homeless housing. Was honored to be a Author of the Dorthy Day phase two bill a couple years back. Have toured many homeless facilities and know we need to help as a State with Homelessness. Mental health investments. Workforce support efforts. Homeless housing investment etc. A mixed effort to help with this complicated 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?
Many seniors and children are in troubled situations. Many seniors are left where they need help. Our local food shelves are often visited by people one would never expect and they struggle. I will continue to work toward and vote to support investments in Housing and services that help with seniors and kids that are in situations where they are struggling. I will vote to help schools to support as well students that are in less that desirable housing situations. Or moving from school to school. Or even homeless. We have a surprising amount of homeless youth even in suburbia. We as electeds need to help with words and votes on these issues. I will vote to invest in these areas.
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 want to help folks with getting into homes. We have many rental housing options in our area. But switching to home ownership is certainly a desired goal. Education on homeownership is available from Minnesota Realtors Association. Sadly many folks don't know Banks, Realtors and many other professionals will help folks get into position where home ownership is a real option. Tax advantages for first time buyers can help with getting folks into homes as well. Happy to support these tax provisions.
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?
Would vote to add to rental assistance funding at the state level. It is true that these provisions do help folks with the buy down of rents to make them affordable. We need our community to continue supporting housing. And especially affordable housing. I didn't realize that 75% of residents that qualify do not receive it. Clearly we need to do a much better job of getting this information out there. I have sent out information on Renters credit often in emails and press releases but clearly more needs to be done to get information out.
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 will continue to support State investments in Housing. Couple years ago we invested 100 million in housing and this last session we added many many millions to investment in housing. We have a big state and the need is great. I will certainly work to invest in housing from homeless to workforce and beyond. It would make some sense to have a straight funding source for housing. Since funding in housing has been unpredictable. One year doing tons and some nothing sadly our much less. I know the need is great state wide. Ive been lucky to tour these last fews years on Cap Inv Committee and have seen first have that the entire state suffers with this. Not to mention the huge needs in Metro and my own area. Will certainly vote to support investment in house.