Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Erina Prom
City/Town: Le Sueur
Legislative District: 20A
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?
Housing is a critical right and the government must play a crucial role in developing life-cycle housing options. The private sector can play a partnership role but has been tied to rising construction costs which has prompted less incentive to develop affordable housing options.
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?
Homelessness remains a serious, unresolved dilemma in Minnesota, often under the radar in rural Minnesota, where few emergency shelters and transitional housing options exist. Gov. Walz has made this a priority, yet the GOP is simply not going to put the dollars or attention to this issue. Additional attention must remain on the homeless tragedy among our veterans, with additional funding dedicated to counseling and job training for a more holistic approach to the issues. Additionally, as a current school board member, I recognize that if students do not have a safe and reliable place to call home it makes learning all the more difficult. We must also place our attention to ensuring that our students and their families have access to reliable and affordable housing.
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?
COVID-19 has exacerbated the high costs of housing in Minnesota. With the federal government’s diminishing priority to Section 8 dollars, the expected eviction peak will further put more households and families at risk. The likely answer will be multi-pronged, with more federal and state funding for both tenants and landlords. But there must also be additional thought put into the nonprofit agencies who are doing the bulk of the advocacy for tenants on the verge of evictions.
Again, with interest rates at historic lows, we need more of a commitment from our lenders, in partnership with MHFA and other federal housing programs -- such as Rural Development -- to provide for such an incentive for renters to move into permanent home ownership.
Inclusion of our diverse population, as well as those who have faced homelessness and have paid too much for housing, must be at the table. But we also must use other principles of discussion -- such as intergenerational dialogue -- to get a comprehensive look at these mounting issues. We also need to develop a far more reaching advocacy base of communities and organizations throughout rural Minnesota, which has long faced shortages of transitional housing, shelters and affordable housing options.