Minnesota Housing Partnership Candidate Questionnaire (supported by Homes for All)
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Jamie Becker-Finn
Legislative District: 42B
District Issues: How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?
There is not enough affordable housing to meet demand. We have good schools and many people want to live here. Unfortunately, first time home buyers struggle to find homes they can afford, and current homeowners often struggle because their incomes are not commensurate with the high costs of housing/property taxes. We also have four manufactured home parks and we need to make sure that remains an option for those who want it. Many of the apartment rentals are also too expensive for regular folks.
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?
1)Invest in affordable housing through the bonding bill 2)Work with and encourage cities to think outside the box and be willing to invest in housing for all income levels 3)Work with the champions we already have in this area to make sure safe housing at different price points are available.
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?
I support a $15 minimum wage with accompanying incentives and policies to support small businesses who operate close to the margins.
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?
Work towards more affordable housing but also make healthcare, and mental healthcare and addiction resources, more available to the people who need them. I recognize that homelessness happens everywhere, including in our area of the suburbs.
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 recognize that many of our seniors live on fixed incomes. Again, we need to invest in various kinds of housing options available for different income levels so that seniors and families aren't forced to spend the majority of their incomes on housing alone. I will also work with our schools to support students who do not yet have stable housing.
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 need to recognize the disparity and be mindful of current and past policies in all the work that we do. There are wealth and income gaps that contribute to the gap in homeownership and ignoring the gaps won't lead to solutions.
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?
Programs with proven results need to be made a priority. When we invest in programs that work, entire communities benefit. I realize we cannot have unlimited spending but we can prioritize the things that truly make a difference.
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 am open to considering all kinds of funding options for affordable housing, including dedicated funding. Housing stability contributes to every part of a person's life and it is critically important towards making sure all Minnesotans can lead safe, healthy, productive lives.