2021 Minneapolis City Council Housing Questionnaire: Ward 8

A coalition of local organizations sponsored this questionnaire to help voters understand where each candidate stands on issues that shape whether every person can find and afford a home in Minneapolis.

We collectively submitted, refined, and selected these questions and invited campaigns of all candidates to respond. We will continue to accept responses and thank those who have participated. Their responses are published verbatim.

The only party holding caucuses for Minneapolis races is the DFL. For more information about participating in the Minneapolis DFL Caucuses in April, see minneapolisdfl.org/. For information on the 2021 November elections, see https://vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/calendar/.

Sponsors: Envision Community; IX (Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia); Neighbors for More Neighbors; NRRC; Wedge LIVE!; Zacah 


Candidate responses: 

  • Andrea Jenkins – incumbent: responded

Q1: In a city where more than half of people rent, what housing policies would you focus on to ensure that every Minneapolis resident has a safe, stable, affordable home?

Andrea Jenkins – incumbent: The Minneapolis2040 plan aims to increase the supply of housing by removing many of the barriers to the creation of new homes, and can ease market pressure on what is called the “missing middle”: triplexes, SROs, ADUs, & smaller apartment buildings. This, however, does not guarantee that such residences will be affordable to those whose housing situation is not stable. Thus, we need rent stabilization combined with a greater public commitment to financing subsidized housing. Many of the policy proposals to address housing affordability require assistance from the state and federal government. Due to my ability to build relationships with these entities, I have earned the endorsement of US Representative Ilhan Omar and numerous state elected officials. During my 3 1/2 years on the council, I have sought for increases in funding for public housing, and will continue this push if re-elected. This is not enough: we still have far too many unhoused individuals and families, in addition to those who may have a residence, but are merely one paycheck, one deportation, or one interaction with the police from joining the ranks of the unhoused. I will fight for rent stabilization and additional federal and state resources for rent relief. I also will work to ensure that we can connect our unhoused and precariously-housed with resources available within the recently-passed Covid Rescue Bill.

Q2: Do you support rent stabilization, just cause protection, pay or quit, city-funded legal services for those facing eviction, and other tenant protections? How will you work to pass these policies?

Andrea Jenkins – incumbent: I support these provisions, and will utilize my relationships with the council, the state, and the federal government to push these actions from a dream to a reality.

Q3: Encampments of unhoused people have become common on public land in Minneapolis in recent years. What will you do to protect the people who see encampments as their best housing option, to connect them to a safe and stable permanent home?

Andrea Jenkins – incumbent: While the encampments have allowed people to create communities, the reality is that such a residential mode does not facilitate a healthy existence. In order to enable a relocation to housing that provides such protections, we need to connect these communities to resources and support services to access long-term affordable housing. A group of 4 individuals who are sharing a tent today could be sharing a house or apartment next month – and their friends and family in neighboring tents can also be down the hall in their new apartment residence, or down the street in a nearby house. We can ensure that they receive job training services if they are interested in gaining employment, and health and addiction services to address their needs. I will work with local nonprofits to make sure these connections are made and people find housing.

Q4: SROs and rooming houses have historically been the most affordable homes available, and an important option for people transitioning out of homelessness. They were largely outlawed during zoning reforms decades ago, and nonprofits like Alliance Housing that manage some of the few remaining rooming houses say they do not have enough space. Would you vote to relegalize this housing option in all parts of Minneapolis?

Andrea Jenkins – incumbent: Yes – we need more housing, not less. SROs are part of that missing middle I mentioned earlier.

Q5: Minneapolis has enacted a number of reforms recently to expand access to more housing types in all neighborhoods — including legalizing ADUs, triplexes, and apartments in some places they’d previously been banned. Do you support this work? If so, what are some ways you’d build on it as a member of the city council?

Andrea Jenkins – incumbent: Yes, and I’ll continue to push for reducing any barriers to such development. I will work with the housing efforts in the city to speed development and ensure that subsidies and other government aid is put into the hands of those who need housing right now.

Q6: Affordable housing funding is precious, and public subsidy often builds homes that are still too expensive for the people struggling the most, with studio apartment rents over $1,000, and 4 bedroom rents up to $1800. How would you use zoning, TIF, or other city-controlled tools to legalize less expensive homes so that affordable housing funding can support the lowest income residents of Minneapolis?

Andrea Jenkins – incumbent: Naturally-occurring affordable housing (NOAH) is supposed to result from greater development. Unfortunately, the demand for living in our fine city outstrips the supply. Thus, upward pressure on rents. We already legalized triplexes everywhere, but that is not enough. We need to continue to increase density and increase subsidies, all while stabilizing rents.

Q7: Our city has grown by 53,000 people in the last 9 years. Do you believe that Minneapolis should make space for more people as our city grows? If so, what is the best way to do that and also ensure that BIPOC communities and people who made Minneapolis their home before the current growth can stay in their communities if they want?

Andrea Jenkins – incumbent: Our city continues to be attractive for newcomers regardless of the number of new residences we build. Thus, we must increase the supply, or the upward pressure on rents will push Minneapolis into the “unlivable except for the few” territory that is affecting Vancouver, San Francisco, and Seattle. We need more housing, and we need it immediately. We need land banks, subsidies, and rent stabilization to assure that BIPOC communities can still reside in our city..

We also need to understand that thousands of Minneapolitans – especially within communities of color – purchased their houses at a time when they were worth much less than they are now, and may feel pressure to sell due to the high prices they may be able to obtain, coupled with increasing property taxes emanating from increased property value.

Q8: The city has the ability to pass a public housing levy. Would you vote to use that levy to the maximum extent?

Andrea Jenkins – incumbent: Yes – I support a greater public commitment to affordable housing, and increasing the amount of resources available for that.

Q9: Given our history of redlining, exclusionary zoning, freeways, slum clearance, and urban renewal, what is your vision for an equitable and restorative way of building a better Minneapolis for all?

Andrea Jenkins – incumbent: Our history is loaded with actions that have made it extremely difficult for BIPOC communities to maintain stable housing, while giving advantages to those who already were advantaged. Eliminating any codes that keep such advantages in place is job 1. Next, we need more housing of all kinds, especially the missing middle. I will work to remove obstacles to building new residences. I will also work to assure that new developments do not squeeze out BIPOC communities. We need neighborhoods that permit our residents to get around safely without a vehicle, by ending parking minimums and expanding sidewalks and bike infrastructure, while also expanding public transit. My strong support from community leaders and elected officials is evidence that I have the ability to get things done, and I will fight to make this vision come to life.

I would like to explore The new 100 Percent Affordable Housing Overlay (AHO) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which encourages the production of permanently-affordable housing through density bonuses and a streamlined design review process, could be a model for other cities and towns with high housing costs. To produce permanently-affordable housing more quickly, more cost-effectively, and in neighborhoods that currently have little affordable housing

Q10: If there are any other thoughts you’d like to add, please use this space to do so.

Andrea Jenkins – incumbent: none