Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020

Candidate responses in italics.

Name: Kenneth Bush

City/Town: Rochester

Legislative District: 25B

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?

I believe the government such as HUD Housing and Urban Development plays a great role in providing housing for many and I have been an HRA commissioner so I have been apart of affordable housing programming. It also takes the private housing industry to be an integrated part of this process as mainly private owner provide the housing stock for vouchers.

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 continue my work as a housing advocate and work with developers, realtors property managers & others and my legislative colleagues and private & non -profit housing organizations. I have been working in this profession for over 20 years.t the State of Minnesota.

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?

Our Government created good policy such as stopping evictions during covid and by allowing property tax extensions. I would like to re-examine the entire process and make it more empathetic especially during covid. We also have to work with property owners and attorney's and others like legal aid. We must also consider the owners suffer during this time as well and do not want evictions for anybody legally renting and abiding by rules of the lease.. fer as well. I believe an extended tax break is a good idea and a win-win equation.

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 would consider a removal of rental licensure. We must have a transparent mediation process and take steps to create educational programs with input from those that have been discriminated upon.

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 this housing now for our continued growth and we need a government to form private partnerships and continue to look at ways to work with schools, employers like Mayo, City, County and others for a new strategic plan that would consider equity as an equation.

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?

Housing is Healthcare and we need to do a better job especially with our State largest employers being the World's Best Healthcare Institution.

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 propose new legislation to use rental tax credit for reporting purposes and consider it also as a saving account for down-payment assistance..

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?

We are doing some citizen impact studies to get to the root of the issues as the example must be the party to the issue to learn best practices of what to do or not to do, This would be used for reference of education in seeking solutions.