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Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020

Candidate responses in italics.

Name: Jim Davnie

City/Town: Minneapolis 

Legislative District: 63A

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 that the stability of housing is key to everyone's well being. Government is the way we work to assure that for all people and balance out a market that responds to wealth over need.

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 explore deeply what we mean by shelter and how current efforts are not meeting the needs of all people who need it. Counties not providing shelter need to find ways to step up and meet their residents needs.

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 been and will continue to be a vocal advocate for assistance to tenants and landlords to prevent evictions during the pandemic.

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?

We need at least two approaches to respond to the yawning gap in home ownership. One is programs that work with potential homeowners through both education and financial assistance. the other is using the Department of Human Rights to monitor for discrimination in any step in the process.

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?

For me the first priority is a strong housing provision in the bonding bill. Second is support for community land trust programs for homeownership.

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?

We need to look at how our shelter policies interact with those struggling with substance use disorder. Our goal should be no one left outside. It is some much harder to get better if you're not stability housed.

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 have long been a supporter of community land trusts as one key strategy for home ownership. As stated elsewhere more needs to be done in both education for ownership and financial support for programs that support home ownership.

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 have a long standing practice of both an open office door to those most impacted by any policy and a willingness to engage my community on the ground. I will continue both practices.