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

Candidate responses in italics.

Name: Marinda Kimmel

City/Town: NEW ULM

Legislative District: 16B

Party: DFL

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

There is a shortage of housing in my district for both renters and homeowners. In New Ulm alone, over 6,000 workers commute into the city daily. A local task force estimated a need for up to 500 single family homes and up to 420 rental units. According to MLS listings we only have 43 homes for sale currently and rental vacancies have been at 1% or less for several years. New Ulm opened its first homeless shelter last year.

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 state could find ways to help reduce the cost to builders so they are able to build affordable homes. Many things could be done to improve the housing cost burden for Minnesotans (ie housing cooperatives, land trusts, etc.) and we need to work together to explore all options and find common sense solutions.

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?

We need to continue to raise the minimum wage and provide affordable healthcare to all Minnesotans.

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?

We need to fund programs at the state level to address homelessness and make sure affordable housing options are available in every community in the state. I would also support rapid rehousing programs for those who are homeless. I would like to explore how to reduce barriers for those who have been evicted such as for mental health or criminal histories. These are some of the most vulnerable people who need additional supports to advocate on their behalf. Housing stability is crucial for children's academic success so that they can focus on their education.

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 would provide funding for senior housing, including ways to keep seniors in their homes longer if they choose. This could include quality home health care options. With the baby boomer generation heading into retirement, we must be prepared to meet their future housing needs.

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?

Far too many households of color were negatively affected by the housing crash during the recession. We must hold lenders accountable to ensure that they are using best practices and following fair housing laws.

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?

Every person in Minnesota deserves a place to call home regardless of their ability to pay. We must make sure adequate funding is available and granted to local communities based on their actual need.

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, dedicated funding is needed to provide housing stability for all Minnesotans.