2021 Minneapolis City Council Housing Questionnaire: Ward 12

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: 

  • Andrew Johnson – 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?

Andrew Johnson – incumbent: I think it’s first important to recognize what we’ve done over the past few years: record levels of funding for affordable housing, prohibiting income discrimination, inclusionary zoning, the 2040 Plan, 4D program, deepening affordability levels, moving forward several innovative new housing models, and more. I’m proud to have been a part of those efforts, along with the creation of hundreds of units of housing in my ward (which includes homes for unsheltered residents). In this short two-year term ahead, I want to continue building on these policy and investment efforts, production and preservation initiatives in our community, and leveraging my role as Intergovernmental Relations Chair to secure more state and federal funding.

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?

Andrew Johnson – incumbent: On rent stabilization, I am learning more about the topic so I do not yet have an informed decision, but voted to move the amendment to the Charter Commission and am looking forward to reviewing CURA’s full report. On the others mentioned, I think they make sense and am looking forward to working with stakeholders on the details.

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?

Andrew Johnson – incumbent: The City has spent $13.4 million in 2020 on shelter expansion, street outreach, rapid rehousing, and providing services to those in encampments. The shelter expansion includes a new culturally specific shelter, women’s shelter, and shelter for the medically frail. I have pushed for transparency and communication around these efforts, brought together stakeholders early-on to help move forward the innovative Envision Community model, and have successfully pushed for the creation of permanent housing in Ward 12 for those transitioning out of homelessness. I will continue these efforts and believe in applying a public health lens to addressing this crisis. Additionally, working with state and federal officials to provide economic support to those struggling from the impacts of the pandemic, and implementing strategies that prevent a wave of evictions when the moratorium is eventually lifted, are top priorities.

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?

Andrew Johnson – incumbent: Yes. There are also several benefits to SROs beyond affordability, such as the social and health value of community living and a smaller environmental footprint.

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?

Andrew Johnson – incumbent: Yes. I will continue to work on implementing the zoning code changes related to the 2040 Plan and will monitor the progress to see if adjustments are needed along the way to improve outcomes.

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?

Andrew Johnson – incumbent: TIF is a tool I support using to get more units at deeper levels of affordability as part of the inclusionary zoning policy.

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?

Andrew Johnson – incumbent: Yes. I support the work and recommendations that came out of the anti-displacement policy network report. Additionally, in Ward 12, nearly all multi-family development has been infill, which is a great strategy to avoid direct displacement.

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

Andrew Johnson – incumbent: I support restoring the MPHA special levy.

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?

Andrew Johnson – incumbent: What all the history mentioned has in common is that each did not have those most directly affected included in the discussions and decision-making. My vision is to have communities most directly affected by decisions centered in the process to make sure their voices are heard. Investments must also be prioritized in communities that have been disinvested in, with a focus on repairing historical harms.

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

Andrew Johnson – incumbent: none