Minnesota Housing Partnership Candidate Questionnaire (supported by Homes for All)
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Laurie Halverson
Legislative District: 51B
District Issues: How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?
Eagan is home to multiple affordable housing options that have been developed in partnership with Dakota County CDA. However, as Eagan undergoes redevelopment, we have to ensure that we continue to develop with the intent that people who work in the community are able to afford to live in the community. In addition, residents express the need for "aging in place" housing options that will allow people to transition from raising a family to affordable retirement living in Eagan.
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 have been a long time supporter of affordable housing proposals including co-authoring the "Homes for All" legislative proposals. I work with city, county, and state leaders to ensure that affordable housing is accessible in all parts of the state. Housing is a most basic need, and without proper housing, meeting other basic needs becomes challenging.
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 am committed to making sure that people can live, work, play and learn in our community. That means ensuring investment in affordable housing. It is also vital that we address other financial stressors on families including wage stagnation, paid family leave, paid sick time, transportation/transit options and other policies that support Minnesota working families.
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?
Investing in ending homelessness has been a top priority of mine since I was first elected in 2012. I have authored or coauthored the Homeless Youth Act in each legislative session that it has been introduced, and we have been successful in increasing state investment to leverage important local projects such as new suburban shelters for youth and new drop in centers. Research clearly shows that stable housing is an essential investment to stabilize families and end 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?
Stable housing is important for families and individuals to be connected to community throughout their lives. In addition, there are numerous policies that make living in communities possible including transportation policy, food accessibility, and community safety. We have to create connectedness in our system so that these policies can be effective from childhood through retirement.
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 have to address root causes of housing disparities. We can look at lending programs that can lead to home ownership. We must look to communities of color to learn more about barriers and solutions to housing disparities.
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?
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?