Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020

Candidate responses in italics.

Name: Donna Bergstrom

City/Town: Duluth

Legislative District: SD7

Party: R

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?

Level the loan, leasing process; ensure equal access to opportunities for housing.

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 helped establish the Center for Changing Lives in Duluth; and will continue to focus on Vet and Youth solutions in particular. The number one indicator in youth homelessness is if they had been in foster care, that's telling. Vets should be supported above others.

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?

Support job growth so that more people are able to find suitable work, thereby building up resources to become self supporting.

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?

Ensure that the law is followed; and that the housing criteria for equal access is made public for all to monitor.

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?

Asking for the local level elected officials to undertake an examination of the fees, taxes, permit costs, for example to ensure that those costs are not driving up the cost of building homes, rental properties. Look at in-fill options, or other mixed market housing options.

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?

Ensure the police remains fully funded and fully engaged with their community for people to feel safe where they live. That is number one. Then, ensure building codes are followed where appropriate. Offer home improvement low-interest loans to homeowners.

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?

Educate those that are interested in purchasing a home as to the benefits of home ownership, along with the pros/cons of ownership over rental.

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?

Just as I did while serving in the military, my intentions are to meet with the the stakeholders to discuss all perspectives.