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Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020

Candidate responses in italics.

Name: Liz Olson

City/Town: Duluth

Legislative District: 7B

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?

The role of government is to improve people's lives. Housing is central to living a safe, stable and healthy life. Everyone deserves housing that is safe and affordable.

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? 

Work with organizations on the front lines to identify policy and budget solution to support the continuum of housing needs. Fully fund housing needs and continue to create new opportunities and creative initiatives to ensure everyone has a place to call home.

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 have co-authored legislation to provide robust rental assistance. I support Governor Walz taking executive action to hault evictions.

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 support legislation to provide paths to whom ownership authored by Rep. Noor that was included in the most recent House Bonding Bill.

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?

Fully fund our housing needs to both preserve current affordable housing, and build new units. This includes a robust bonding build which includes funding for affordable housing. We also need to provide economic supports to ensure no one pays more than 1/3 of their income for housing.

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?

Housing is central to well-being. Where you live determines many factors in life including life expectancy. We need to address the intersection of community needs that puts safe, affordable, stable housing at the forefront.

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?

Incentivice and fund pathways to ownership. As well, as address student debt, health care costs, and other financial hardships that keep home ownership out of reach for many.

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?

Seek policy and budget solution directly from those most impacted, both individually and from groups representing their interests.