Minnesota Housing Partnership Candidate Questionnaire (supported by Homes for All)

Candidate responses in italics.

Name: Cheryl Youakim

City/Town: Hopkins

Legislative District: 46B

Party: DFL

District Issues: How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?

Access to more affordable rental 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?

Invest in programs to help developers and non-profits build affordable multi-housing units. Work in the area of eviction policy and housing court to allow folks a second chance. Change policy to make it easier to expunge/remove eviction records.

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?

Increase money that goes into the rental tax credit program. As stated above, work on issue in housing court. Support an increase in minimum wage. Find ways to subsidize work force 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?

See above. Also help counties develop a one-stop-shop to help folks facing chronic homelessness find services.

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 need to expand the Senior housing tax credit. Find ways to make it easier for seniors to age in place. Find ways to fund families rent so that they can stay in a school district for at least two years.

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?

Help increase the minimum wage and job opportunities. Make sure that none of our statutes have red line laws. Help cities develop comprehensive plans that blend our communities.Increase access to post-secondary education to make sure that it is affordable.

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?

Make sure that our policies get the money to people who need it most. Education plans to make sure folks know how to access services.

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 would consider it, it would depend on how the bill was drafted and how much it removes from the general fund.