Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Mindy Kimmel
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 has a vital role to play in ensuring all Minnesotans have access to stable housing. All of the other indicators we seek to improve in education, health and economic development will suffer if our neighbors do not have access to stable 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 will support a housing-focused bonding bill that invests in affordable housing in every region of this state. I will also fight for more state assistance to counties to support housing services. This includes efforts to keep people housed, especially those most at risk for eviction such as people with legal backgrounds, mental health and substance abuse, and those living in poverty.
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 support continuing the moratorium on evictions throughout the pandemic, as part of Governor Walz's emergency powers. As a legislator, I will be a proponent of strengthening tenant rights. I also support advocacy programs that work to resolve tenant and landlord disputes to avoid eviction.
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 state assistance - whether through grants or tax credits - to first-time homebuyers from underrepresented communities. Additionally, I will work to improve the entire homebuying pipeline, closing education gaps that lead to unequal job opportunities for those seeking to own a home. I also support state assistance for land trusts to control the overall cost of housing.
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?
In my community rental vacancies have been at 1% or less. A New Ulm tax force found a need for up to 500 homes yet there are only about 50 available. I support investments in housing through the bonding bill, both in affordable units and to expand the availability of naturally-occurring affordable housing by increasing the overall supply to drive down cost. This can be done through workforce housing partnerships with employers, especially in rural communities. I also support tax credits to account for the cost differential of building housing units in rural communities.
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?
My community has seen the impact lack of housing has on education outcomes. They created the NUMAS Haus to reduce homelessness for school aged youth and their families. Housing, transportation, education, and health are all interconnected and rely on each other to have positive outcomes. I support investments in housing as well as transportation infrastructure so families can get to school and work as well as other basic needs such as grocery stores and medical clinics.
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 would support investments in raising public awareness through ad campaigns about existing assistance programs. I would also support facilitating a partnership between retailers and school systems around the state to ensure that parents are aware of support systems that are available to them. Programs that offer down payment assistance are essential as well as availability of affordable homes. Often renters are not able to save for a down payment due to high rental costs compared to their overall income.
8: Including community recommendations when developing policies and programs is a best practice for effective and lasting solutions. How will you include those impacted by housing needs in developing and implementing housing solutions?
I believe in a model of cogoverning. As a legislator, I will proactively seek out underrepresented voices in my community to bring both their priorities and their perspective to the Capitol. As a mental health professional I have seen the impact of homelessness on employment, education, health, and overall wellbeing.