Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020

Candidate responses in italics.

Name: Frank Hornstein

City/Town: Minneapolis 

Legislative District: 61A

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?

Housing is a basic human right. Government at all levels—city, county, state, and federal—have the responsibility to ensure safe, decent, accessible, and affordable housing for all. At the state level, this means ensuring 500 million dollars of bonding; expansion of the housing trust fund; and proper regulation of housing matters.

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 must be addressed first and foremost by preserving and expanding the supply of housing for Minnesotans making 30% or less of the metro-median income. In addition, the state must expand emergency shelter space and emergency services for those experiencing homelessness. The state must also invest in transitional housing such as the Steve O’Neil Apartments in Duluth. This very successful model provides clean and safe housing along with wrap-around services including childcare and assistance with employment, food, and educational opportunities. I strongly support Steve O’Neil Apartments across the state.

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 strongly support extending the current moratorium on evictions. We must also support free and accessible legal counsel for tenets; rent stabilization programs; restricting landlords’ unauthorized access to tenet property and privacy; and sudden lease modifications and terminations.
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 has among the highest racial disparities in housing and homeownership in the nation. This systemic racism is linked to disparities in wages, educational outcomes, transportation, healthcare, environment, and criminal justice. Disparities in housing can be addressed by addressing access to credit, housing discrimination, residential segregation, and racial steering.

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? 
Under-resourced households who cannot afford the high cost of housing are often working multiple jobs with inadequate wages. That is why I support a $15 minimum wage and Medicare for all. I also support housing policies that expand the supply of affordable housing and preserve naturally occurring housing. In addition, I support efforts to reverse cuts in essential federal housing programs such as Section 8, Section 202, and Section 811.
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 and health outcomes are inextricably linked. We must ensure all Minnesotans obtain the healthcare they need through a single-payer healthcare system. Housing opportunities must be expanded for many in our community that face healthcare challenges, including mental health; HIV/AIDs; memory care; and those suffering from addiction. Housing rehabilitation and construction must also utilize building materials and design that minimize toxic exposure and promote healthy and clean environmental outcomes.
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? 
One of the biggest barriers to homeownership is access to credit. The structural causes of the 2008 mortgage lending crisis are still in place, as are practices that redline communities inhabited primarily by low-income people and people of color. The State and the Federal government must more aggressively regulate mortgage lending and financial institutions. The State, through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, should also expand credits and supports for low-income homeownership.
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? 

My professional background is in community organizing. Prior to my election to the Minnesota House of Representatives, I worked on housing issues as an organizer for various neighborhood groups and at Jewish Community Action. As such, I recognize that effective change only happens when those directly impacted by problems are included in policy development and the political process. As a legislator, I have and will continue to seek the advice of grassroots organizations and housing advocates, and meet with those impacted by the housing crisis. I will ensure that these groups have a place at the table in developing community-based solutions to housing challenges.