Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Steve Elkins
Legislative District: 49B
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?
Remove regulatory barriers to the construction of affordable housing and provide adequate financial support to build low-income housing and preserve existing affordable housing.
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 provide adequate funding to build enough temporary shelter beds to meet the demand, overcome NIMBY opposition to siting it, and build enough new housing, overall, to meet the demand.
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?
We need to adequately fund rent support subsidies for the benefit of both landlords and unemployed tenants.
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 am personally developing legislation to enable housing developers (both for profit and non-profit) to overcome existing regulatory barriers to the construction of more affordable housing.
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?
Please see my essay on this topic at: https://www.startribune.com/twin-cities-housing-the-flaming-hoops-separating-builders-and-cities/567890982/
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 stability is a key predictor of health outcomes. I will support the construction of an adequate suppy of housing through both regulatory reform and subsidies for the construction of affordable housing.
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?
Housing developers must be free to build starter homes and condos in communities where only "starter castles" are currently allowed. I am developing legislation that would allow starter homes to be built in every community.
8: Including community recommendations when developing policies and programs is a best practice for effective and lasting solutions. How will you include those impacted by housing needs in developing and implementing housing solutions?
By working with local organizations in my own communities, like the affordable housing coalitions in Bloomington and Edina, and with regional advocacy organizations like MICAH, Beacon and MHP.