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Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020

Candidate responses in italics.

Name: Michael Howard

City/Town: Richfield

Legislative District: 50A

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?

Government should take a proactive role in housing, striving to create a future where everyone has a safe and affordable place to live. This will not happen without significant investment and purposeful work at all levels of government.

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 build and preserve more homes that people can afford. We must also increase direct economic assistance to help Minnesotans afford their homes, such as the Bring it Home housing subsidy legislation that I authored this year.

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 pass tenant protections that put more power in the hands of renters. I support 14-day advance notice of evictions as well as a ban on discrimination against Section 8 housing voucher recipients.

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?

Minnesota is amongst the worst in the country when it comes to racial disaprities in housing. We need an all-hands-on-deck approach to solve this crisis, including more direct financial support for first-time homebuyers of color.

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?

We need a historic investment in housing or we will not meet the needs of the future. I believe we need to think outside the box and create a new dependable source of revenue to support the creation and preservation of affordable 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?

When it comes to health, economic and educational outcomes, all roads lead back to home. We need to be more intentional about these intersections in our work at the State Capitol.

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 authored legislation in 2019 to help manufactured parks owners band together to purchase their parks. We should look at this model for preservation for other forms of multi-unit housing.

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?

The most persuasive advocates at the State Capitol are those directly impacted by the policies we create. I look forward to partnering with Homes for All to ensure their voices are front-and-center in this important work.