Minnesota Housing Partnership Candidate Questionnaire (supported by Homes for All)
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Sarah Hamlin
City/Town: Elk River
Legislative District: 30A
District Issues: How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?
Much like our country, my district faces a shortage of affordable housing. The cost to purchase a home is getting more out of reach as time goes on.
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 think Minnesota can find ways to offer tax breaks or incentives to encourage the production of affordable homes. I also believe, there are large corporations who do not need these same tax breaks. By shifting them to the agencies and companies tackling the housing crisis issue we could make some serious headway.
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?
Senator Bernie Sanders has a great plan to tax the large corporations offering such low wages to their workers. I would support a bill such as that. In addition, however we could structure the tax system to support smaller companies paying a more affordable wage I would be in favor of.
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?
First and foremost awareness needs to be happening. People have assumptions about who a homeless person is and where they live. Minnesotans need to understand how prevalent homelessness is and how many families are homeless as well. As I have stated, we need to look at who we give large tax breaks to and restructure to offer more funding to smaller agencies and companies handling homelessness.
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?
If we are looking at truly funding housing programs for every Minnesotan it will not matter how old a person is or what their race is they will all be eligible for housing supports.
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 be looking at lending practices to make sure people are not being left out of any supports or opportunities because of their race. Again, ALL Minnesotans must be included in the opportunity for safe and affordable housing.
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?
Again, this will come down to taxes and how the funding is allocated. I don't have all the solutions, but I know groups like this one has people who know this issue and have great ideas. I would always seek out guidance from reputable groups because I would want to support legislation that actually makes 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?
YES! Housing is a basic human need. If we want to be the best Minnesota we can be we need to make sure everyone has affordable and safe housing.