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Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020

Candidate responses in italics.

Name: Sara Flick

City/Town: Rochester

Legislative District: 25

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?

We need to make sure that everyone has access to affordable housing, especially during a crisis that is of no fault of their own.

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? 

We need to reduce some of the barriers to housing, including making it easier for individuals to regain valid forms of identification, as well as to re-evaluate some of our renter rights and guidelines.

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?

We need to institute an eviction moratorium and then work with federal partners to address the financial impact of COVID-19.

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?

I'm open to providing new pathways to homeownership, including incentive programs.

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 think we need to look at zoning laws, including a potential ban or temporary ban on single family home zoning.

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?

The state needs to partner with local communities. Each city and county has unique needs and the state should work to support those efforts.

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?

I'm interested in learning more, but I have heard of unique programs such as rent-to-own and other programs designed to offset the barriers to home ownership such as downpayment or PMI.

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?

I believe in avoiding preemption regulation wherever possible. I believe most decisions should be made at the local level.