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Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020

Candidate responses in italics.

Name: Robert Bierman

City/Town: Apple Valley

Legislative District: 57A

Party: DFL

1: A national poll in May 2020 found that 78% of the public believes our elected leaders are not putting enough attention on people’s need for help to pay for their housing during the coronavirus outbreak. What do you believe is the role of government in ensuring everyone has access to housing?

In Minnesota we solved a public housing crisis once before. We should do it again and we can create jobs in the process.

2: In Minnesota, 80 of 87 counties do not have the capacity to provide sufficient shelter or temporary housing to those who are homeless. Nationally, a study of US cities found that 25 percent of all requests for emergency shelter went unmet. What will you do to end homelessness? 

I will continue to vote for more funding at the state level and advocate for a shelter in our community as well. Presently there is only a temporary rotating shelter in our community. We need a permanent facility available.

3: According to the Census Bureau's July 22 Household Pulse Survey for Minnesota, and Stout’s analysis of this data, there are 132,000 potential eviction filings over the next 4 months in Minnesota. Over 90% of evictions in Minnesota are for non-payment of rent. What will you do to prevent evictions?

Advocate for a Universal income.

4: Being denied where to live because of race, family status, or disability is discrimination. In Minnesota, 53% more whites are homeowners than Black residents, a statistic that dwarfs the national racial homeownership gap of 30%. What meaningful steps will you take to address the root problems of racial disparities in housing?

The problems needing to be addressed are related. Opportunity gaps, achievement gaps, accessible and affordable health care and housing are connected and must all be addressed simultaneously to address social injustices. They need supports at every turn.

5: Our housing crisis includes a lack of safe, stable homes in Minnesota. The 2018 Minnesota Task Force on Housing identified a need for 300,000 new ownership and rental homes over the next decade. While there are 180,000 Minnesota renters with incomes at 30% area median income, only 100 units affordable to these families are produced each year. What steps will you take to support Minnesotans’ access to homes, especially for under resourced households?

I support the full array of public and private partnerships to achieve the goal. We need a robust bonding bill as well to impact this gap.

6: More than ever, the public understands the connection between housing and health, as well as education, transportation, and more. What housing-based strategy would you use to improve health outcomes for Minnesotans?

As I consider this question I think about the elder homeless people with chronic conditions. A multi faceted strategy to meet the needs of the individuals where they are. Besides the structures the health side will require social worker and hospital participation to affect change. We need to explore the projects working and build off of them. Healthy homes also include remediation of more lead paint and pipe contamination in low income areas.

7: Over 188,000 Minnesota renter households between the ages of 25 and 44 are income-qualified to purchase a home but continue to rent, including 64,000 households of color. What steps will you take to increase opportunities for renters to purchase homes, condos, or cooperative ownership models, if they choose?

Fair housing and fair loan practices need to be examined. We need to have a level playing field for minorities.

8: Including community recommendations when developing policies and programs is a best practice for effective and lasting solutionsHow will you include those impacted by housing needs in developing and implementing housing solutions?

Advocate for more resident participation in local planning and development. Public participation is a key part of the inclusion process for voices to be heard. Grants provided by the state for housing should require participatory requirements for community input.