Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020
Candidate responses in italics.
Name: Mike Erickson
Legislative District: 35A
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 think the government should provide a foundational level of housing for those who can’t provide it for themselves. The return on that investment in terms of health care, including mental health care cost avoidance I would think would pay for the program
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 look for ways to provide temporary transitional shelter for those who need it and advocate for integrating permanent housing into existing communities. The integration of low cost housing into existing communities also provides a mentoring opportunity for folks who might need it
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?
Ensure the COVID subsidy funding provides a safety net. I would work with the landlords to identify an acceptable level of partial rent to avoid evictions and subsidize tenants so they can meet that amount. I would also plan for the day we come out of the crisis to ensure any back rent deficiencies aren’t cause for eviction
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 first ensure the root causes were properly identified and then design system level solutions to resolve them. Most of my adult career I was part of a design team focused on finding solutions to complex systems problems. I think that experience will serve me well in this endeavor
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?
Again, I think we just need to understand and act upon the fact that the return on the investment in affordable housing will pay for itself and not only quantitatively but with higher quality of life, community safety, etc. So I would advocate for public ally subsidizing acceptable affordable housing.
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?
As I mentioned above, stable housing in itself will improve personal health but I would couple that with universal access to affordable health care. Also, I would locate affordable housing within in reasonable commuting distance of health care facilities
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 advocate for Public ally financed first time home buyers incentives including things such as waived or subsidized mortgage insurance, etc.
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?
As I mentioned above, I would advocate for integrating affordable housing into existing areas and including incentives to build it into developing communities