Minnesota Housing Partnership Candidate Questionnaire (supported by Homes for All)
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Bob Gunther
Legislative District: 23A
District Issues: How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?
There is a shortage of affordable workforce housing, senior housing, as well as housing for handicapped individuals throughout my district.
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 support the bonding bill for housing and programs within the housing committee. An example is the Challenge Grant, which I introduced in 1998 and is still being used throughout the state. In this grant employers invest their funds which are matched by Minnesota Housing Finance and HUD in the Federal Government.
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?
There are Sections 8 housing funds that are available for those with low incomes.
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 have supported and will continue to support funding for organizations such as Lutheran Social Service and Catholic Charities that assist with homelessness throughout the state. The Veterans Administration, which I also support, provides care of our homeless veterans in St. Cloud and Rochester. I also supported the bonding bill that provides funding to maintain low housing costs.
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 support programs will that will allow seniors to remain in their homes as long as possible. We will assist seniors and parents with housing costs through various programs that we have in Health and Human Services such as MFIP. We assist children's nutrition with free and reduced breakfasts and lunches during the school year.
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?
Provide good paying jobs and educational opportunities for people of color. We are experiencing record numbers of employment of people of color in Minnesota as well as throughout the nation. We have more jobs available than we have people to fill them, so there are job opportunities for those willing to work.
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 would support efforts to inform people of the availability of assistance.
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 support dedicating the necessary funds as needed.