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

Candidate responses in italics.

Name: Yvette Marthaler

City/Town: Faribault

Legislative District: 24B

Party: DFL

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

I am the treatment court coordinator in Rice County in district 24B. The biggest barrier to treatment court participant success is the lack of affordable, safe housing. There is a shortage of rental properties and affordable homes-especially housing for larger families.

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?

The legislature can provide incentives for collaboration among city, county and state resources. The legislature should support creating a statewide review panel to evaluate the regulations related to building standards, land use, and environmental stewardship for their impact on building affordable housing. Partners often add regulations and fees at many level of construction that limit development. I would support an appropriation for Local Housing Trust Funds.

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?

As a school board member, I have supported career pathways in our high school to assist students make a transition to employment at graduation. I would support increasing the state minimum wage. I would also support the DFL initiative to increase the wages of direct care workers.

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 would advocate for funding for Housing Infrastructure Bonds and maximize General Obligation Bonding Bills to include transitional housing facilities for homeless Minnesotans. We need to link "homes and services" as recommended by the Governor's Task Force on Housing. This includes developing a dependable stream of funding for social services that help households maintain their homes and expanding programs that assist individuals in finding and retaining affordable rental homes.

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?

Seniors and students can receive support from linking homes and services, providing access to a full range of services for stable housing. As a legislator, I would work with MHP to amend the bond statute to support rental housing development for seniors.

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 legislature should introduce legislation to implement The Governor's Task Force on Housing recommendations including expanding available down payment assistance programs and increasing funding for financial education and advocacy programs at local community banks to expand financing options.

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?

As a social worker in Rice County, I have seen services and advocacy programs cut because of legislative action. People lose the supports they need to access services and navigate systems. I would bring experience and knowledge of the benefit of improving services to increase outcomes. Policy and programs should be developed to give incentives to landlords to accept HTF Rental 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?

Yes, I support a dedicated source of funding for affordable housing to address the growing needs of my district. Safe and affordable housing is the primary need for low wealth communities. The lack of affordable housing affects my district's ability to attract new business and limits the expansion of current industry.