Minnesota Votes for Housing 2020

Candidate responses in italics.

Name: Tama Theis

City/Town: Saint Cloud

Legislative District: 14A

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?

We need to make sure we are not putting barriers in place unintentionally, make sure that folks who can pay will and not take a holiday and help Housing Providers with their finances so they are not in danger of losing their properties.

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 am looking and working with folks to find some alternatives in housing that is cost effective, bringing rents to a level many can reach.

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?
This one is not so easy in that banks are getting nervous in not getting their mortgage payments from Housing Providers. We will have to work on making sure folks can pay their rents.

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 believe that looking into a way to build homes more cost effective will help more folks get into homes. That means in looking at all options around housing including code and regulations.

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?

I support the Task Force on Housing action steps. We need to be looking at all the recommendations and I believe we will see very good results. It's all in there.

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?

People just do better in homes and that includes so many things like education, family life. I believe all those work to improve health and wellbeing.

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 believe there is a bit of tweaking we can do in current statute plus continue on work to get the cost of home building to an affordable level. That includes lot costs that work into keeping a home affordable.

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 need a lot of input from folks to find out what the needs are, what is affordable and in also doing some work in helping folks learn how to take care of their homes to keep costs down.