Minnesota Housing Partnership Candidate Questionnaire (supported by Homes for All)
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Rick Hansen
City/Town: South Saint Paul
Legislative District: 52A
District Issues: How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?
District 52A has a large number of renters and senior housing. Because of its close proximity to St Paul, I think there is an opportunity for more affordable and market rate housing. Concord Boulevard redevelopment is an opportunity.
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?
There should be a Capital Investment bill each year that includes housing; both new and improving existing.
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?
increasing the minimum wage; encourage unions
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?
In West St Paul housing has been built using a variety of funding sources and tax credits. I think we should evaluate these options to see how more creative collaborations can be encouraged
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?
District 52A has a large senior population where residents want to stay in their community. We need to plan and build for an increasing senior population. Job security helps provide stability for children's 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?
The legislature committee process can bring banks, credit unions, and other lenders to the table to assess and problem solve. As a member of the Legislative Audit Commission, there is also an opportunity there.
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?
With a growing economy and budget surpluses, I believe we can increase this support. I also think rental property tax credits can be increased
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 would like to explore these options.