Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Gary Porter
Legislative District: 44B
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?
This is a tough question to answer especially since we are in a bad environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid is putting great strain on the revenues that government can expect to receive, at the same time because of the economic strain it is causing the rate of homelessness is growing. In the short term the government must act to make sure the homeless are taken care off. In the long term there are many things government can do to help solve this issue. Making sure that we get rid of needless regulations that are causing the cost of house to increase. Providing a subsidy to help low income workers afford housing. To name just a few.
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 think we need to extend the moratorium on evictions until Covid-19 is under control. At the same time, we have work to protect landowners so they also do not lose their property because they cannot meet their obligations.
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?
In the long term the key is making sure those in the black community get a good education. Today we have a significant gap between the low-income school districts and the wealthy. As the education gap continues to grow so to does the housing gap continue to grow for minorities. If we want to close the housing gap, Minnesota must guarantee an excellent education for every student. This is the only way every citizen of Minnesota will have a chance at the American Dream of home ownership.
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 the short term we need to continue to eviction moratorium, so we do not aggregate the problem more. For the long term we need to bring together a coalition of business leaders, advocates for the homeless and legislators to come up with solutions to bring an end to the homeless problem in Minnesota.
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?
What I suggest is a long-term solution. The only way people can move to home ownership is by being provided an excellent education, so they are qualified for good paying jobs. Every immigrant group has prospered in this country because their first goal was to get an excellent education for their children. If we are going to provide the opportunities of home ownership, then it is a necessity that Minnesota guarantee every child an excellent education.
One Legislator cannot solve this problem. It is going to take a large grassroots movement to get this accomplished. Unless the Legislature sees that large numbers of people care about this issue there will not be the kind of action we seek. That means letter writing and filling committee rooms with grass roots supporters. My role as a legislator would be to add a strong voice and leadership to the grassroots to push for the solutions to solve the homeless problem in Minnesota.