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

Candidate responses in italics.

Name: Karla Scapanski

City/Town: Sauk Rapids

Legislative District: 15B

Party: DFL

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

Affordability is a major issue for persons both renters and homeowners

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 am an executive board member of Tri-CAP and truly understand this issue. We discuss this at every meeting and brainstorm ways to assist.

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 would do and champion whatever it takes to find solutions. This is a systemic issue deeper then just minimum wage.

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 will champion legislation on economic development and infrastructure in my district. I will also incentivize in these areas.

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 am an early childhood educators and again understand these issue. Health care is also an issue in this area for these vulnerable adults. I will educate colleagues on this issue and share best practice to find solutions.

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?

Through education and champion legislation as we need equal representation. This is the direct result of this not happening.

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 want to help those to be able to afford housing by creating better jobs. That can not happen with all the other shortcomings in our area. Until we can fix these other issues assistance and support needs to help these vulnerable adults.

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 am seeing this on the board and can be the voice for this group at Tri-CAP.