Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020

Candidate responses in italics.

Name: Doria Drost

City/Town: Lynd

Legislative District: 16A

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?

I believe the government should be proactive when it comes to housing needs for Minnesotans. We must pass legislation to provide support across the state during this pandemic, as well as to protect those with rent and mortgages that are unable to make payments at this time. We also need to work to regulate utility pricing across our state and create affordable loan options for homebuyers, along with expanding Section 8 housing opportunities within Greater Minnesota.

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? 

If elected, I plan to expand Section 8 housing across our state along with investing in public transportation so that those experiencing homelessness have accessibility to shelter options. I also want to crest legislation that regulates rental costs in our state along with mortgage lending so there can be affordable housing options for all Minnesotans.

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?

I want to crest legislation that prohibits evictions in Minnesota for those that are experiencing financial hardship during a state of emergency. Of like to include grant funding to assist those individuals facing possible eviction as well.

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?

There needs to be legislation in place prohibiting discrimination against prospective tenants due to ethnicity, language, race, age, gender and sex orientation, immigration status, and income levels

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 want to create grant programs that assist Minnesotans in gaining access to housing, especially for those experiencing hardship. Along with grant funding, I want to implement regulations on lending for homebuyers so that they do not get price gouged with interest rates.

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?

I want to create a comprehensive legislative response that works to provide investments into healthcare and public transportation infrastructure across the state, in addition to my aforementioned housing policy proposals. We must also invest in education programs inside and outside of K-12, including community education programs that develop skill sets for individuals. The issue of housing stability is interconnected to all sectors, so we must continually work to make improvements across the board if we want to protect our folks here in Minnesota.

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?

One of the main deterrents for potential home buyers is the overall purchase process and loan interest barriers. I want to create a statewide community education resource program to allow potential homebuyers to learn about the process and gain understanding of their options as well as to include policy making that lowers interest rates for first-time home buyers with special grant funding for individuals and families of color.

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 we need to invest in expanding our state’s income-based housing developments to ensure every community in Minnesota has an affordable housing option for residents. We must also pass legislation to hold landlords accountable for maintaining their rental units and having equitable rent and utility charges for renters. Additionally, I would like to push for more energy efficiency on housing to lower long-term utility costs for Minnesotans and improve our energy usage. We should also move towards “green home” projects to make housing out of recycled materials to reduce the waste that results from housing construction.