Minnesota Housing Partnership Candidate Questionnaire (supported by Homes for All)
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Hodan Hassan
Legislative District: 62A
District Issues: How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?
We are in a housing crisis in Minneapolis, especially in my district. The Native American Community is experiencing one of the worst moments that the City has seen concerning housing and health in recent memory. We need strong investment in affordable housing and shelter space from the city, and an increased commitment of state funds to build and revitalize affordable housing in the state. A huge piece of this is the need for increased education and on the ground resources that help residents who are homeless and highly mobile with mental and chemical health needs. This is an opportunity to create a strong shelter/housing model that focuses on harm reduction and mental and chemical health, one that that is culturally specific to the Native Community in 62A. Concerning home ownership, more low income renters that want to buy housing, especially communities of color, need access to lines of credit, subsidy for down payment, and education that enfranchises first time buyers.
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 will be a strong advocate in the state legislature, and work with all partners who share the same vision, to see that we as a State are committing more dollars to revitalize and build new units. I want to see that we are making commitments to zone units that are in areas of wealth, near mass transit options, and near places where employment is available. We need to make sure we have a long term and sustainable mass transit and infrastructure plan that looks out for residents who do not drive and rely on mass transit for mobility. Protecting our unions, creating jobs and creating more affordable housing are things that must happen in tandem.
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 dollar minimum wage across the board, and I want to see more jobs skills programs and technical skills opportunities be accessible to residents in Minneapolis and across the state. I support at least two years of free college for those students and residents who cannot afford to pay, and want first time buyers to have both financial and educational incentives to help shrink the gap felt between white and home-owners of color. I think that we should also have a say as municipalities on how high rent should become, so I support removing the pre-emption clause around rent control in the State Legislature. Cooperative housing model, land-trusts, and rent to own and other ownership models are ones I would like to see used to help address the burden of rent on low income Minnesotans.
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?
We need more affordable housing, plain and simple. I will support greater funding in the State Legislature for this. Secondly, we need full wrap-around services that will help those who are un-housed to find the chemical and mental health services that they need, and then housing that is accessible, affordable and near jobs and training resources so they can maintain this housing. We need greater financial commitment to culturally specific shelter space that will first connect these communities with the aforementioned resources. We need to address the root causes of homelessness in a way that is sensitive to need and holistically managed. Without looking at these root mental and chemical health needs that impact many homeless residents, we are putting a band-aid on a larger problem.
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?
When our most vulnerable are not experiencing the health outcomes that they need to thrive, there is a problem with the systems that are in place. There needs to be greater access to housing resources in the State for seniors, we need to strengthen our laws to protect vulnerable seniors, and students need access to not only strong education, but they need homes and families who are supported by our housing and healthcare policies. We need a single payer health care system that does not discriminate based on income. When students go to the classroom with the deck stacked against them, we need to holistically address the root causes: housing and healthcare access. Stable families will mean better health and educational outcomes for our students.
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?
While working to end homelessness and create security for families, we need to make sure that new home-buyers, especially POCI, have access to the counseling and financial assistance with down-payments and closing costs. These financial and educational resources are going to be keys for the POCI community, and they will prove to help shrink this gap in stability and ownership.
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?
Sometimes education around these programs is what determines whether residents are able to access them. Not only do we need to commit more funds to this program, but we need to invest in resources and education around this program so that residents know that it is available .
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. This is one of the most important core needs we all require as human beings. This is one of my top priorities and the top priority of my district.